Sometimes It's Corny...
Home Cured Salt Beef
Here in we call it Salt Beef, but in the U.S. this is Corned. Either way, it's delicious.
Curing anything means you're not going to be enjoying your end product for a little while. At just one week this beef is on the speedier side of the curing spectrum. Curing is a process used to preserve a fresh product for consumption at a later date and was essential in the days before modern refrigeration. The process of curing aims to use a combination of salts, nitrates/nitrites and sometimes sugar, to draw moisture from the fresh product and reduce the opportunity for it to spoil. Some cures mean you don't have to cook the end product, but with our beef, curing is only half the job.
We made our cure using brown sugar, sea salt and water, as well as pepper corns, cloves, bayleaf and fennel seeds. Brought to the boil and briefly simmered, the mixture was left to cool completely before submerging our beef. The cut of choice has to be brisket. It's a classic cut that lends itself to low and slow cooking and has a flavoursome fat to meat ratio. The beef is left, fully submerged, for a whole week.
At the end of a week it's time to cook the beef. Remove from the brine and rinse under cold running water before gently poaching in a stock. We used classic stock vegetables as well as a healthy glugg of German beer. The end result is a tender and a rich brown. If you can get hold of saltpeter (potassium nitrate) your end result will be the classic deep pink.
Serve with sauerkraut, boiled potatoes and a good dollop of horseradish.