Corned beef

Corned beef

By
From
Best Kitchen Basics
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Petrina Tinslay

As a reminder of Australia’s colonial past and the fact that domestic refrigeration dates from the 1950s, there is no better dish than corned beef. The English and French colonised a large part of the planet with this simple product. ‘Corned’ references salt ‘corns’, which were used to preserve beef for long periods at sea under sail. During the world wars it was also known as ‘bully’ beef – a corruption of the French word bouillon, meaning ‘to boil’. This method of preservation is a useful technique for secondary cuts to improve their texture and flavour. The red colour comes from the preservative saltpetre. Long, slow cooking yields a succulent cut and a symbiotic relationship develops with the vegetables in the pot.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg corned silverside or tri-tip, for preference
2 large carrots, peeled and halved
2 large onions, halved
1 celery stalk
a few fresh bay leaves
3cm piece fresh ginger
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
20g butter
20g plain flour
20g dijon mustard

Parsley potatoes parsley potatoes

Quantity Ingredient
200g new potatoes
20g butter
freshly ground black pepper
30g chopped curly parsley

Method

  1. Put the meat in a heavy-based saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then drain.
  2. Rinse the saucepan and put the meat back in. Cover with fresh water and bring to a low simmer over medium–low heat. Add the vegetables, herbs and spices and cook gently for 1½–2 hours until a skewer can be inserted into the meat with only a little resistance.
  3. When the meat is nearly done, cook the potatoes. Use some of the cooking liquor from the meat to cook the potatoes, skin on, for 15–20 minutes. When they are tender, toss them in the butter, freshly ground black pepper and the parsley and then transfer them to a warm serving dish.
  4. Heat the butter and flour in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the mixture turns golden. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in a little of the meat cooking liquor. Return to the heat and whisk in another 250 ml of the liquor. Cook until it thickens with a shine, then whisk in the mustard. Pour the sauce into a sauce boat to serve.
  5. Slice the beef and serve it in deep bowls with the sauce, carrots, onions and the parsley potatoes.

Note

  • Blanching the meat reduces the salt content of the final dish and produces a useful bouillon. Different cuts of beef have different cooking qualities, so do ask your butcher’s opinion and weigh that against your own.
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