Monday, September 20, 2010

Corned beef and cabbage

To tell you the truth, I'm not immensely fond of corned beef, but Harvey, like most of the men we know, is, and I'll eat it quite happily now and then. And it's such an easy thing to cook, especially in a slow cooker. I had a nice lean piece of silverside (lovely name) in the freezer, so we had it for dinner with friends on Saturday.

I haven't had a slow cooker all that long. Soon after I got it I was up in Auckland seeing my sister, and she showed me her collection of slow cooker recipe books. The one I liked the look of most was Fiona Wllison's Great Ideas for Crockpots and Slow Cookers (Stylus, 2004). Others must have agreed with me - it was reprinted twice. It has good guidelines and a manageable selection of about 60 appealing recipes. And it's got something that seems to be getting rarer by the minute in recipe books - a really user-friendly format, spiral-bound and lie-flat, with sturdy board covers and clear, readable print, plus sumptuous photos. It was long out of stock in the shops, but I managed to track down a new copy on the net. Very satisfying. Fiona's recipe for corned beef works perfectly, just like my mother used to make.

Old-fashioned corned beef

1 kg corned beef (mine was a bit bigger, about 1.3 kg)
2 bay leaves
1 brown onion, peeled and studded with cloves (she says 8 but I use 12)
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (or you can use one carrot and one parsnip)
A few sprigs of fresh parsley
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons malt vinegar
rind of two oranges (I popped in the last mandarin, cut into quarters)
boiling water

Turn slow cooker to High and leave to heat for 20 minutes.  (Almost all her recipes start this way).
Rinse corned beef in cold water and place in warmed cooker. (I trim almost all the fat off it first.)
Add remaining ingredients and add enough boiling water to just cover the meat.
Cover and cook on High for 5-6 hours.

We didn't eat the veges with it - I saved them for soup later. I served it with mashed potato (what else) and the same red cabbage, with apple and onion (photo shows it ready to cook), as in my post on venison, as well as a selection of mustards - English for Harvey, Dijon for me and grainy for anyone who liked that better. The next night we ate up the leftovers all mixed together and fried as corned beef hash.
            I got a new slow cooker book in Melbourne, so I'll find something out of that to make soon.

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