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Corned beef a hit around St. Patrick's Day
Its name might be a little confusing, but at this time of the year corned beef is a star.
By Laura Reiley, Times Food Critic
Published March 12, 2008
Corned beef is a conundrum that many of us face roughly once a year around St. Patrick's Day. It has nothing to do with corn, but the beef part is accurate.
This holiday food owes its name to early Anglo-Saxon times before refrigeration when meat was preserved through dry curing in coarse "corns" of salt. Today brining, using salted water, has replaced the dry salt cure, but the name corned beef has stuck. It's made from one of several less tender cuts of beef like the brisket, rump or round, and requires long, moist cooking.
According to the History Channel, Irish-Americans in New York in the late 1800s turned to corned beef as a substitute for more expensive Irish bacon. Thus a tradition was born, but toss in those other Irish staples of cabbage, potato and other root veggies.
Corned beef usually comes in a vacuum-packed pouch in a little pickling juice, accompanied by a spice bag that often contains peppercorns and bay leaves. According to the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, unopened, uncooked corned beef may be stored five to seven days in the refrigerator.
Place rinsed brisket fat-side up in a large pot and cover it with water. Bring the water to a boil with the contents of the seasoning packet; then reduce the heat and simmer, allowing about one hour per pound. Toss in whole new potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage during the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking. Corned beef may still be pink in color after cooking. This does not mean it is undercooked to be sure, look for an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Nitrite used in the curing process fixes the pigment in the meat. As with all meats, allow the corned beef to stand for 10 minutes before slicing diagonally against the grain.
For deli sandwich fans, leftovers may be the best part. Keep leftover meat whole and cool completely. Cold meat is easier to slice and holds together better. Leftover meat will last three to four days in the refrigerator.
Another use of leftover corned beef is hash. The recipe at rightcan easily be halved if you don't have 3 pounds of leftover meat.
- Dice the corned beef brisket into small pieces using either a knife or food processor. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, meat, onion, salt and pepper together, and then place mixture in a roasting pan. Bake for 30 minutes until brown.
Serves 6 to 8.
Source: Mike's City Diner, Boston, via the Food Network