Dec 11, 2013

Corned and Cured

Corned beef is a salt-cured cut of meat. The term comes from the treatment of the meat with "corns" of salt. It is a popular part of Irish, Jewish and even African cuisine.  Although the exact beginnings of corned beef are unknown, it most likely came about when people began using salt to preserve food.  The word corn derives from Old English, and is used to describe any small hard particles or grains.

Commercial production of corned beef started during the British Industrial Revolution. Irish corned beef was traded extensively to the British navy and North American army due to its non-perishable nature.

It became more popular through subsequent wars when meat was rationed. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Irish immigrants in New York made their corned beef from briskets sold by kosher butchers.

Although we consume corned beef made fresh, this preserved meat has been canned commercially throughout the world and is a popular staple in impoverished nations. Canned corned beef is pre-cooked and only requires reheated prior to consuming. Canned corned beef is chopped into small pieces prior to canning and is typically more oily and salty than brined corned beef.

Today, most corned beef is cured in a salt brine rather than a dry salt rub. Brined corned beef is usually boiled after purchase but can also be roasted. Brined corned beef often remains pink on the inside despite being fully cooked. This is attributed to nitrates in the brining solution, which tend to preserve color. Brined corned beef is usually sold as a whole roast and is typically served sliced after cooking. Corned beef is usually made from the brisket, or rib area, of the cow. However, lately there have been other cuts that are prepared in the same manner as consumers look for less expensive cuts. A first cut corned beef will always be most tender of all these cuts.

There are lots of ways to prepare a corned beef roast. You can boil it in water first to remove some of its saltiness or you can simply add other ingredients to balance the salt. Try one of our delicious options below.

Glazed Corn Beef

A sweetened mustard glaze is baked onto this flavorful corned beef.

For the beef:

1 corned beef brisket, about 7 to 8 pounds

2 onions, peeled, quartered

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 clove garlic, halved

3 whole cloves

For the mustard glaze:

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Put corned beef in a large Dutch oven or roaster; add water to cover. Add onion wedges, bay leaves,  pepper, garlic, and whole cloves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 4 hours, or until corned beef is tender. Alternately, corned beef can be baked in the oven at 350 degrees F for the same amount of time. Remove corned beef from cooking liquid; refrigerate until next day.

Make glaze for corned beef. In a small saucepan combine corn syrup and mustard. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring a few times. Let cool.

Trim excess fat from corned beef; place on rack in a broiler pan. Brush corned beef with glaze and broil about 5 inches from heat for 10 minutes, brushing corned beef several times with glaze.
Corned beef recipe serves 10 to 12.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

Apple juice, brown sugar, and mustard make this corned beef taste great, and the slow cooker makes it tender and easy.

1 corned beef brisket, about 4 pounds

4 cups apple juice

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

6 to 8 small to medium red potatoes, cut in half or quarters

2 to 3 medium carrots, pared and cut into chunks

1 large onion, peeled and cut into eighths

Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker (cut meat in half if necessary). Stir gently to mix. Cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours or on LOW for 8 to 10 hours. Remove meat and vegetables and some of the cooking liquid. Slice meat thinly across the grain. Serve with vegetables and some of the cooking liquid.

Corned Beef Soup

If you have some leftover corned beef this soup is perfect!

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

2 stalks celery, checked and sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 quarts chicken broth

1 1/2 cups chopped carrots

1/2 small head cabbage, coarsely chopped, about 4 to 5 cups

1/4 cup barley

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 to 2 1/2 cups diced cooked corned beef, about 10 to 12 ounces

1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes, diced, with the liquid

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and celery; sauté, stirring frequently, until tender. Add garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, carrots, cabbage, and barley. Add the bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in corned beef and tomatoes; increase heat and return to the boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if you like.





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