Monday, 12 March 2012

Corned Beast

Ah, SO sorry I forgot to put a picture up. It's my sourdough roasted and sliced horizontally, my sauerkraut, my mustard, this wicked winey corned beef and I think melted cheese too. Browned in butter, GASP!

If you haven't done so already, now's the time to start your corned beast for St. Patrick's Day. I did it yesterday, and a full week to cure is about right. The reason to do it is not cost: corned beef was $3.99 a pound in the supermarket yesterday and raw brisket was $4.99. You do it because it's fun! And tastes better, because you can do whatever you like with it. Moreover, you don't need a buy a huge honking hunk of beast if you only want a bit. I bought a 2 lbs brisket end with a nice cap of fat. To start: sprinkle generously with salt - a little more than if you were just going to cook this. (I actually used a red salt impregnated with French wine that my friend Lissa in Paris gave me, but regular sea salt is fine.) Then very lightly sprinkle with pink salt. (Instacure #1) Then add whatever you like - I used juniper berries sent to me by Miss Butterpowered Bike from Colorado. Plus coriander, black pepper and bay leaves. Throw it in a leakproof ziplock and into the fridge for a week. Now here's the divergence. Forget boiling it. Much of the flavor is lost in the water. So after it's thoroughly cured, rinse it off. I like to put it in a casserole on a bed of sauerkraut (your own), add water or other liquid (such as beer - your own), cover and bake slowly for about 3 or 4 hours undisturbed. Serve on toasted rye (your own) with a good smear of mustard (also you own) along with the kraut. It's LOVELY.

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