Endless simmer

[Recipe 1] CORNED BEEF with POTATO AND EGG SALAD transforms into

I’ve been squeezing in as many slow-cooked meals as I can before Spring arrives. We love beef, and especially adore slow-roasted brisket but being a closet retro food lover, one of my personal favourites is corned beef. It has a unique, almost tangy, flavour and is so easy to prepare, simply simmered in water with a few chopped veggies and ignored until cooked.
My recipe is a conglomeration of one from my much-loved Complete Margaret Fulton (a book I received for my 12th birthday) and this recipe on taste.com. The whole grapefruit studded with cloves is a tip I learned from my neighbour Tracey, and it adds a beautiful zesty touch.
Although corned beef is traditionally served with white sauce and boiled veggies, we prefer ours Eastern-Euro style, with a large mound of egg and potato salad and a couple of crunchy pickles on the side. Incidentally, if you’re feeling energetic, you could make your own pickles too. Bartolini Kitchens and Wuppenif both posted lovely home-made pickle recipes last week.
Reserve some cooked potato pieces and chopped corned beef and you can whip up a batch of rustic corned beef hash for brekkie later. The mustard adds a good wallop of flavour and cuts through the stodginess, making for a tasty, hearty dish to set you up for the day. The husband polished off a huge bowl of it on Sunday, proclaiming it ‘really good’, before embarking on a full schedule of repairs to our ancient house. Actually, our house is a 1=2 story in itself… must write about it one of these days.
Have a lovely week dear readers. xx

Corned beef with egg and potato salad[Recipe 1] Corned beef with potato and egg salad

Ingredients (serves 4 for 2 meals):
1.75kg (3½ lb) piece uncooked corned (pickled) beef or silverside
1 whole grapefuit, studded with 8 cloves
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped, leaves included
1 leek, halved lengthwise, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Wholegrain mustard, to serve
Pickles or gherkins, to serve
Ingredients for potato and egg salad (note: you’ll be reserving ½ the cooked potatoes for the corned beef hash):
2 kilos (4 lb) waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil, mixed with 1 teaspoon lemon juice, for coating reserved potatoes
½ cup good-quality egg mayonnaise
⅓ cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup chopped chives
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

Drain the beef and place into a bowl of water for 30 minutes. Drain again.
Place rinsed beef into a large saucepan with the studded grapefruit, celery, leek, carrot, bay leaves, peppercorns and brown sugar. Add cold water to cover by 5cm (2”) and bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, over medium heat for 2 hours or until meat is firm. Turn off the heat and allow the beef to rest in the liquid for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the potato and egg salad. Place potato pieces into a large saucepan. Cover with water, bring to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and allow to cool to room temperature for half an hour.

♦ Reserve ½ the cooked potato (approx. 800g/1¾ lb) for the corned beef hash.
To prevent reserved potatoes from turning grey, add olive oil and lemon juice mixture, and toss to coat. Store cooked potatoes in the fridge for up to 2 days. Dry well before using in Recipe 2 (below).

Mix together mayonnaise, sour cream and mustard. Plop over the remaining cooked potato pieces; add the chives, parsley and eggs and stir through gently. Season. Refrigerate until required.
Remove the corned beef from the cooking liquid and slice. Discard the liquid (although it pains me to discard food, I find this stock too salty and aromatic to use for other purposes).
Reserve 250g (½ lb) of the cooked corned beef for the corned beef hash.
Serve the remaining sliced corned beef, cold or warm; with the potato salad, mustard and pickles.

  • You can buy uncooked corned beef and silverside from the supermarket, but it does contain a few numbers, sulfites and preservatives. I purchase mine from my local butcher, beautifully nestled in a bag of simple brine and spices. If your butcher doesn’t stock it, you could try asking nicely if they would prepare one for you. You could of course cure it yourself, but I prefer to leave it to the experts.
  • Uncooked cured corned beef requires 30 minutes simmering per 500g (1 lb). I like to add an extra 15 minutes, and rest the beef in the hot stock for 30 minutes prior to carving. There is nothing spookier or more annoying than finding a little uncooked section in the middle of one’s corned beef!
  • Cooked corned beef and cooked potatoes can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze corned beef in slices, with baking paper between the layers, in a tightly-sealed container for up to 2 months.
  • If egg salad doesn’t float your boat, corned beef goes beautifully with Russian potato salad too (cook an extra 1 kilo/2 lb potatoes to reserve for the hash).
  • Corned beef is also fabulous served up in a Reuban sandwich with braised red cabbage.
  • Fussy kid tip: Refer to the corned beef as ‘special ham’; and if your kids won’t touch potato salad, serve them up an oh-so-hipster deconstructed version with cooked potato cubes, quartered eggs and a decorative drizzle of kewpie mayo.

Corned beef and leek hash

[Recipe 2] Corned beef hash

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon (approx. 20g) butter
½ leek, white part only, halved lengthwise, cut into long strips and sliced finely

♦ 800g (1¾ lb) reserved cooked potato pieces

♦ 250g
(½ lb) reserved sliced corned beef, chopped
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
4 eggs
2 Roma tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, for scattering

Heat oil and butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan and fry the leek over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes.
♦ Dry reserved cooked potato pieces with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper; and add to the frying pan with the reserved corned beef. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Using a wide spatula, flip sections of the mixture over to cook the other side for a further 5–10 minutes, until golden and crispy at the edges. Add an extra splash of olive oil if required. Shake the pan gently now and again to roughen the potatoes. Add mustard and gently toss to combine.
Meanwhile, fry or poach the eggs and fry or grill the tomatoes.
To serve, pile a mound of corned beef hash on each serving plate, top with a fried egg, a tomato half and a good grind of pepper and salt. Scatter with parsley.

  • Parsley can be replaced with thyme or basil.
  • You can add other leftover cooked veggies to hash; including carrot and corn.
  • Fussy kid tip: Kids will prefer plain hash, so add wholegrain mustard and parsley to adult serves only. Omit the grilled tomatoes, and serve with tomato sauce (ketchup).

37 thoughts on “Endless simmer

  1. I made this tonight and it was delicious! I didn’t have sour cream so I substituted some balsamic vinegar to the mayo and that added a nice zing. Looking forward to the hash tomorrow!

    • Yay! Thanks so much Amelia! Love, love, love getting feedback. You’ve made my day. How good is it to be heading back into slow-cooking season again?!
      So pleased you liked the beef. Balsamic vinegar in the mayo is an inspired addition – love anything zingy with corned beef. Will have to steal that idea. Hope you enjoy the hash – that’s almost the best part.

    • What a great breakfast to have regularly as a youngster. You must’ve been positively leaping about with energy every day. Thanks for reminding me of childhood brekkies – one of my favourites as a child was my dad’s thick apple pancakes with bacon; and you know what? It’s brekkie time in 20 minutes and that’s exactly what I’m going to make.

  2. Saskia what would you say if I said, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten corned beef? I’m struggling, I’m pretty sure I’ve never tried it. (and you know both a side of sauerkraut would go quite well, now don’t you 🙂

    • Brydie, if you have some of your beautiful sauerkraut left, you must make some corned beef! Those two are a marriage made in heaven.
      PS. Absolutely can’t wait to make your sauerkraut.

  3. Oooooh, this is wonderful. I love corned beef and your potato egg salad is a perfect accompaniment. I remember my mom making a rather large roast of some sort, then using the leftovers for hash. Brilliant idea. Thank you for the inspiration Saskia.

    • Loooove hash with leftover roast meat. You’ve reminded me how good that is! Have been meaning to make Bubble and Squeak for the blog too (found out recently it’s called Rumbledthumps in Scotland – how cool is that).

  4. I absolutely howled when I read ‘special ham’ – I am going to definitely use that! It may not work with my fussy youngest son, but it’s sure worth a try. I love, love, love the retro feel of these dishes and they really do represent the best kind of comfort food in my book. And the styling, as noted by others, is perfect (as always!). Thanks for the shout out. I’m really excited to have found Bartolini Kitchen and must try the beets recipe over there!

    • Thanks for your lovely comments df! Can’t wait to make your pickles. I do throw the word ‘special’ around rather a lot. You’d think the boys would be onto me by now. Pearl couscous is ‘special pasta’, baked pumpkin and sweet potato are ‘special orange chips’, whisked ricotta is ‘special cream’. The list goes on…
      Bartolini Kitchens is one of my favourite blogs. John is so knowledgeable, enthusiastic and generous. Love how he weaves his family stories and memories into each post too.

  5. Impeccable food styling as per usual Sas! LOVE both of these recipes, corned beef is a food of my youth so it has pretty special ‘nostalgia points’ in my mind! You know what? I’ve never actually made it at home before. I think I need to change that… drooling over your gorgeous hash! Thanks lovely xx

  6. I’m a big fan of corned beef, Saskia, but never heard of putting a grapefruit in the pot. I have to give it a try, as well as your recipe for corned beef hash. It really does sound good. It’s been a long term goal of mine to make a hash with the leftover corned beef but I really do love corned beef sandwiches. By the time I’ve tired of the sandwiches, there’s too little corned beef to make hash. I think I need to buy a bigger piece of meat. 🙂

      • Ha, I’ve been known to be distracted by a large hunk of meat too John. The grapefruit is a great touch – it really imbues the meat with lovely zestiness. Yes, heartily recommend buying a huge hunk of corned beef. I greedily make a beeline for the largest piece at my butcher. Seems a shame to miss out on the hash.

  7. I have never tried cooking corned beef, but a friend at work had it for lunch this week and was telling me how easy it was, and now you’ve given me the recipe, so I guess I don’t have any excuse not to do it now! Looks so tasty, especially the hash.

    • Thanks Amelia. Your friend is right. It’s honestly so easy, one of those great weekend meals that cooks itself with little intervention. The corned beef sandwiches we had at work were a huge bonus.

  8. What, no boiled cabbage????? Fun and joke aside I prefer your potato salad and pickle with the corned beef.
    Ever tried boiling whole potatoes in the corned beef cooking liquid? Should make for tasty boiled potatoes.

    • Hi Norma. Strangely enough although I love coleslaw, sauerkraut and braised red cabbage I’m not a fan of plain boiled cabbage. It’s probably the aroma that makes me recoil! I really should try it again one day though as this is an aversion I’ve hung onto for years! I did try cooking the spuds in the corned beef liquid once but my boys proclaimed them ‘too spicy’. I usually buy a huge piece of beef too so there isn’t enough room in the pot!

  9. I’m amazed at these 2 wonderful dishes you have made with corned beef. I really should give it a try. 🙂 Actually I don’t even know if I can get it in Spain, maybe the “York ham” (like a “bloiled” ham) could be a substitute if not… xx

    • Thanks Sofia. I’ve made hash with ham before and it’s really good. I also threw in some cooked corn kernels and a dash of Tabasco. I’m typing this before breakfast. Suddenly very hungry…

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