Corned beef is a salt-cured product. It was a staple in my home when I was growing up, but I’m sure Pegs, my Mom, never cured it herself, as she was definitely not that adept in the kitchen. I am sure however, that my Granny would have cured her own, but I can’t remember.
Anyway, I loved corned beef then and I love it now. Slow cooked and served with onions, carrots and potatoes, served hot with maybe a mustard sauce, sliced corned beef on sandwiches for school the next day or cold corned beef and salad for lunch. My absolute favourite was corned beef hash which we only ever had while on holiday in the caravan. Yummy. My mouth waters just reminiscing about it.
That was last century …
This century, I still love corned beef, hot or cold, and it’s freely available in supermarkets and butchers. I do however, choose to corn my own as it is far healthier, with no nasties added and believe me, the home corned beef tastes like the one I remember from last century. Yes, it takes about 10 days to corn, but once you’ve tasted your own, you will never buy a commercially prepared corned beef again.
The image below, from a commercially prepared corned silverside available in our local supermarket, lists a few ingredients other than the beef and water. Salt, Mineral Salt (451,450,452), Sugar, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Canola Oil. One bug bear for me is the Sodium Nitrite and I would suggest you read up on this chemical here . This is a product I would choose not to eat, not only flavour-wise, but food additive wise. I just don’t see the point in consuming chemicals in food when they can be avoided. This is my own personal opinion. I’m sure there are many who would not agree with me, but we are all open to our own opinions.
So, if you would like to know how I make my own Corned Silverside, my recipe is below.
My home-cured Corned Beef Silverside Recipe
- 2kg Silverside (I chose free range and organic)
- 2 litres filtered water
- 1 cup Himalayan Rock Salt
- ½ cup Rapadura sugar (you could use brown sugar or coconut sugar)
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon Ceylon Cinnamon
- 3 star anise
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 springs of rosemary
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
- Add the water and all dry ingredients to a large stainless still stock pot, bring to boil.
- Reduce to simmer once boiled and continue cooking until the salt and sugar have dissolved – takes about 20 – 30 minutes. Stir regularly.
- Your kitchen will start to smell divine, just like Christmas!
- Take stockpot off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. This takes a few hours.
- Pour the cooled brine mixture into a large glass container, preferably with a lid – funnily enough I use a Corningware dish!
- Place the silverside into the brine in the dish, making sure that the brine covers the beef completely.
- Cover and place in the fridge for at least 10 days.
- Check daily to ensure the beef stays submerged and turn the beef over, in the brine regularly. The beef will start to change colour after a few days.
Once the beef is corned, you can either freeze the beef in the brine, or you can slow cook it. If you choose to cook it straight away, the beef must be rinsed well before cooking. I’ll cover the cooking of the beef in my next blog.