Curing and cooking and grilling

March 19, 2017

It has been a weekend full of cookery.

And basketball. And my Razorbacks, God bless ’em, made a valiant effort against North Carolina, but a couple of bad calls late turned it. Now, as long as Kentucky loses, I don’t care who wins.

Calls for a glass of wine.

I’ll save last night’s dinner, which was a fine, fine thing, for a separate post, but I’ll give you a couple of examples of the best of St. Patrick’s Day and the day after.

There was this:

Classic corned beef dinner. Except it was bottom round roast, and not brisket.

And then there was this:

Even better: corned beef hash the next morning.

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, help me now. These were GOOD. REAL Good.

Having had less-than-optimum success with corned brisket in the past, I decided to try my luck with a bottom round roast when I found a nice one on sale at Aldi the other day. I brined it according to Michael Ruhlman’s formula, here. I used the 5 percent brine, because I knew I wanted to sous vide the meat, as opposed to boiling it.

Mixed up the brine, let it cool, plunked the roast in, set a bowl on top to weight it down. Plunked it in the fridge, and let it brine for 10 days (not the 5 Ruhlman recommends, because it was a lot thicker than a brisket). Pulled it out, put it in a vacuum bag, added the additional pickling spice, and plunked it in its hot-water bath (145 degrees) for 42 hours.

This is one of the reasons I LOVE my sous vide rig. It purely rocks in transforming a tough cut of meat into a delectably tender, flavorful one.

I actually intended to let it go for 36 hours, but I kinda forgot it. Pulled it out, and directly into the fridge it went, because I did not plan to cook it for two or three days.

Came Friday, and the wearin’ o’ the green and all such, and along in the late afternoon I fetched it out of the fridge and we were on to the second of kitchen gadgetry that would be employed in the making of this meal. That would be the Instant Pot.

I peeled about 8 fist-sized potatoes, plunked them in the bottom of the IP. Added a cup of water. Cut up five or six carrots, tossed those in as well. Set a steamer basket on top of them (must get one of those rack thingies for the IP). Atop that, I put the corned round roast, dumped the jus out of the bag, and surrounded it with wedges of cabbage.

I steamed for 20 minutes. A bit too long, I think. Veggies were REAL soft. On the other hand, they had a marvelous flavor from the beef jus from the bag. I might try 10 next time, see what the veggies are like. It did not, I hasten to add, slow us down on gobbling them down; of the above platterful, there was a lonely slice of corned beef and four potatoes left.

The potatoes were reincarnated the next morning, along with the irregular ends and the stray slice off the corned beef, into the corned beef hash. Simplicity in itself. Dice up the potatoes, real small (a half inch or less). Dice up corned beef the same or smaller. Combine in bowl with a healthy portion of black pepper (I would guess I went close to a half-teaspoon) and some heavy cream (MAYBE a quarter cup. Maybe not that much. Y’all know I don’t measure.) Stir it all up. Dump it in an iron skillet on medium heat and leave it for at least five minutes, then turn it in as few motions as you can.

Fry up an egg or two (over easy, please! you need a runny yolk!) and ease it on top of this. Break the yolk, and chop up the egg into your hash. Enjoy. Forget cholesterol. St. Patrick will take care of you on this day.

Lord, but I love corned beef when it’s done well. This one, I did well. And I only have about one sandwich and one serving of hash worth of it left. On the other hand, I notice Aldi had eye of round roasts on sale t’other day. I’m thinking one of those would corn real nicely.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em don’t reckon there’s any prohibition anywhere on corning beef any time other than leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, do you?




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