For me, corned beef comes from a tin. A rectangular tin never redesigned for modern can openers – steadfastly attached to a key that snaps halfway around and leaves a ringletted strip of tin flailing like scored ribbon.
For my husband, however, corned beef is the traditional salt beef boiled long and slow in an oniony broth. A family dish his Dad would cook – proudly adding his secret ingredient (a clove studded orange – not so secret anymore!) to the broth, and methodically preparing potatoes and a roux made with the cooking liquid.
This recipe, therefore, is an homage to my husband’s childhood and his memories of family meals around their kitchen table. It requires a little time and effort, but the leftovers are so very worth it – particularly the Thursday sandwich that thankfully involves no interactions with awkward tins!
CLICK HERE to see this recipe as part of a meal plan.
Prep time: 3.5 hours
Serves: 2 with leftovers for one week*
1.5kg corned beef
1 large celery stick with leaves
3 bay leaves
Rinse the corned beef under a cold running tap. In a large saucepan place the onion (quartered), chopped celery, bay, peppercorns and beef. Fill with cold water until the beef is barely covered. Bring to the boil before turning the heat to low and simmering for three hours.
Rest for 20 minutes before serving and cut generous slices against the grain.
Serve with mashed potatoes (don’t forget to make extra for the corned beef croquettes later in the week), a dill-caper roux, and salad/greens.
Some people stud the onion with cloves.
My father-in-law’s secret ingredient to the perfect corned beef is a clove studded orange – I hope I’m forgiven for sharing this…..
Potato salad with sauerkraut.
*A 1.5kg piece of corned beef as a stand alone meal with mashed potatoes and salad can feed up to 8 people.