Corned beef a real slice of life

Central and North Burnett Times - - SPORT - with Mag­gie Cooper Con­tact Mag­gie at mag­gies.col­umn@big­pond.com

ONE of the meals we most looked for­ward to when I was a kid was mum’s corned sil­ver­side. Our fam­ily has Ir­ish an­ces­try so mum had a fairly tra­di­tional recipe that hailed from the Emer­ald Isle, but corned sil­ver­side (or just corned beef) is served in many coun­tries – its ex­act ori­gins are un­clear.

What is clear though is that beef and other meats were corned as a way of ex­tend­ing their life. In the days be­fore re­frig­er­a­tion the corn­ing process (so called be­cause the gran­ules of salt that were used re­sem­bled ker­nels of corn) kept the meat ed­i­ble for longer (as did cer­tain ways of cur­ry­ing meat – the vine­gar-based vin­daloo from the Goa re­gion of In­dia started as just an­other way of pick­ling per­ish­able food).

Mum cooked her sil­ver­side the day be­fore and left it sit­ting in the cook­ing water overnight, then she would re­heat it gen­tly the day of serv­ing. If you are plan­ning to serve it cold or use the left­overs for sand­wiches it re­tains more mois­ture if cooled in the cook­ing liq­uid.

Mum served it with bechamel (oth­er­wise known as “white” sauce); de­pend­ing upon what was avail­able we would some­times have onion or pars­ley added. I do both but I’m also happy to eat the meat with­out a sauce. You can also serve it with mus­tard or a mus­tard-flavoured bechamel.

Mum’s corned sil­ver­side

Serves 10

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: ◗ 2.5kg piece of corned sil­ver­side ◗ cold water to cover ◗ 1 stalk of cel­ery ◗ 1 car­rot ◗ 1 onion, halved

◗ 10 whole cloves ◗ 10 whole black pep­per­corns ◗ 1⁄ tsp 2 all­spice or nut­meg or mace ◗ 3 tbs brown sugar ◗ 3 tbs malt vine­gar or lemon juice

METHOD: Place meat in a large saucepan and just cover with cold water. Add re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents and cover the pot. Bring to the boil then re­duce heat un­til water is just sim­mer­ing. Cook for one hour per kilo­gram. You can re­move pot from the heat and leave meat to stand while you pre­pare the ac­com­pa­ni­ments. Af­ter slic­ing and serv­ing meat, re­turn any left­over to the liq­uid to cool.

PHOTO: MAG­GIE COOPER

◗ Corned beef is de­li­cious hot or cold.

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