Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cool running, and corned beef

Who is that masked runner?



The picture above is from this evening before my run. I was bundled up for the 0 degree temperature with a -15 wind chill to go along with it. The run was good, and I did not see a soul on the trails (which were already beautifully plowed from the 4 inches of snow we got the previous day). Didn't see much of anything except for a huge flock of Canada geese flying in their "V" formation. It was chilly, but I was nice and toasty. Six more days until winter officially begins... ;-)

Over the weekend, I tried a little experiment. I had read a post by Michael Ruhlman where he suggested one could theoretically make a quicker version of corned beef by using a dry cure. Corned beef is traditionally made with brisket, and it is normally brined. But with a smaller cut of meat and by using the dry cure method, it could be accomplished in far less time. I thought I would give it a whirl.

Dry cure and pickling spice applied to the beef



I bought a cheap cut of top sirloin, dredged it in my dry cure (recipe for the cure is at the Ruhlman link above), and rubbed on some pickling spices. After about 3 1/2 hours in the fridge, I rinsed off all of the cure and spices and added the beef to a pot of water with some additional pickling spices. I brought the beef to a boil and then simmered it for about a half an hour (no need to cook very long for such a small cut).

My homemade corned beef



And darned if it didn't look and taste like corned beef! Through the process of cooking, the meat turned pink, indicating it had successfully cured thanks to the sodium nitrite. The flavor was really good - not too salty, and nicely seasoned. The only thing I would do differently is use a cut of beef with a little more fat (or maybe just try the brining process with an actual brisket sometime!). But because this was so lean, the bits of corned beef crisped up beautifully in my homemade corned beef hash for breakfast the following morning!

Corned beef hash



Breakfast is served!



Until next time,

Jean
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