Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The pros and cons of spontaneous silverside

I pulled out an old favourite last night: corned beef (p124). Since I've only ever cooked silverside in my crockpot, I was interested to see how the stovetop recipe described in my Edmonds book would compare.

The benefit of this version is that there's no pre-planning required. I decided to cook it yesterday afternoon, got it on the stove immediately and had it cooked in time for dinner. If I use the crockpot, I have to get it ready in advance.

The method is pretty much the same, though: when you've got the silverside in a pot, add a bay leaf, peppercorns and golden syrup, and just cover with water. This recipe also includes parsely and a strip of orange rind - things I don't usually include.

The pot I chose was a bit small, really. When I'd added the water, it nearly reached the top of the pot. I'd chosen the smallest piece of silverside from what was available, but it was still slightly larger than the 1kg silverside indicated in the recipe, meaning I'd have to cook it slightly longer.

Anyway, I brought the water to the boil, and left the corned beef to simmer for a bit over an hour. As I approached the end of this time, I made a start on that most vital accompaniment, mustard sauce (p187). This simple condiment is the real reason why everyone loves corned beef. Who eats corned beef without mustard sauce?

You'd have to be pretty lazy not to bother with the sauce: it takes about 30 seconds to combine the egg, sugar, flour and mustard, then maybe another five minutes to gradually add the liquids, (vinegar and cooking liquid from the beef) and heat it until thick. Dead easy, very quick, and such a yummy addition to the beef.

The beef itself was fairly disappointing.  I found the stovetop version is quite tough, compared to the tender, falling-apart results I get from my crockpot (Mum gets hers even better than mine; I don't know how, since we do it exactly the same way). It's still got that great corned beef flavour, though, and you can't fault the mustard sauce.

So while cooking your corned beef on the stovetop is quicker, and requires less planning, I'd still recommend using a crockpot. The good news is, there's no reason why you can't use this very Edmonds recipe in a crockpot - just leave it in for 8-10 hours instead of one. But however you cook it, never go without the mustard sauce!


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  2. interesting re the corned beef - when I was young I thought corned beef always came tough and a bit chewy, as that was how it was boiled to death. I couldn't understand when I saw corned beef sandwiches a foot high in Amercian movies, how on earth did they get through piles of tough meat like that... I had no idea the crockpot made it so melt in the mouth delicious. Don't think I will be deviating from my crockpot on this one...!

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