The Mysterious Corned Beef

Corned Beef in a can vs Brisket Corned Beef

A long time ago, when I first arrived in the USA and I was catering for my local neighborhood families, I vividly recall one of my customers asking if I could add her mother’s favourite to the menu at least twice a month. I asked her what that favourite might be and the answer was “Corned Beef with Mashed Potatoes”.

I found it to be a strange request as the only “corned beef” I knew about, came in a can, funnily enough, made in my country “Uruguay” out of beef leftovers and exported! Never, ever had I eaten corned beef in my life and found no reason to do so, which actually takes me back even more years to an event that happened in Nova Scotia, Canada, but I will save that story for another day 🙂

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Anyway, back to the “Corned Beef and Mashed Potatoes” story, I diligently prepared this dish and delivered it, and a couple of days later I asked my customer if her mother was pleased with her dish and the answer I got was, well yes but she would rather have the “real” corned beef! I kind of mumbled an apology, offered her a free meal and ran back home to figure out what she meant about “real corned beef”!

After a little bit of research I discovered that there is such thing as “real”corned beef brisket, which turns out to be pickled brisket (pickled in a salty brine solution) and surprise surprise, there is no “corn” involved in the process, the name comes from using “Corns of Salt”!

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It is a tradition here in the USA for the Irish-Americans to have Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patricks day, but please note that this dish does not exist in Ireland, or at least was not initiated there. History says that the original dish was supposed to be made with bacon and corned beef ended up being the poor mans bacon substitute! This now explains why in all the years that I lived in London, I never came across the infamous Corned Beef and Cabbage dish 🙂

What is known in America as Corned Beef, is known in the UK as Salted Beef.

So with this story in mind and the fact that I found a Corned Beef Brisket on Sale after St. Patricks Day, I decided to subject my Uruguayan/British/Norwegian/American family to a good ole Irish/American Corned Beef dinner ❤

Dinner was kind of enjoyed, they did make a comment about the beef being the wrong color (son stated it was very undercooked), so I had to explain it cooked for 3 hrs in a slow oven so for sure not undercooked! But all in all, for the first time round, I claim success at a lower level 🙂

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I found a few recipes on how to make my own homemade version and thinking I might give it a go –

So with that note, I hope you enjoyed my little story on Corned Beef! I love finding out the origins of traditional dishes ❤

 

 

 

Tradition with a twist

Down at home (Uruguay) we have a traditional dish that I love making for my family. Of course as always, I love putting a little twist into the traditional recipe.

This dish is called Tortilla de Papas, also known as Spanish Omelette.

The basic ingredients for it are:

  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Eggs
  • Salt and pepper

So here is how I go about making it. Some people slice the potatoes really thin and then sautee them until they are cooked. I start by boiling the potatoes until they are just slightly tender (you should be able to slice them without them turning into a mush).

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I used to slice them but in recent years I have opted to cube them instead.

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Whilst the potatoes are cooking, I slice a bunch of onions and chop up a few cloves of garlic and cook them in a pan till they are nice and golden.

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This time round I added some lovely bacon to the pan and let it crisp up nicely. The added bacon is my little twist for the day. Then I tossed in the cubed potatoes and tossed them around with a bit of olive oil till they got a nice color going and before I took them of the heat I added some chopped cilantro, you can use parsley if you prefer…..

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In a bowl, I beat up a bunch of eggs, added salt and pepper and then I added the the potatoes, onions, garlic and bacon.

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Give the mixture a nice toss to ensure that everything is coated in the egg mixture.

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Then heat up a frying pan , drizzle some oil and as soon as its nice and hot, put the mixture into it and spread it out evenly.

I cook it for about 5-7 minutes on one side, then place a plate on top and flip it over and gently slide into pan to cook the other side for aprox the same time.

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Some people finish it off under a broiler in the oven to avoid flipping it over but once you do it a couple of times you will find its actually very easy!

And there you have it, a little Uruguayan tradition with a bacon twist, its also excellent with any leftover meat chopped up (steak, pork or lamb).

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We usually eat it with a side of salad but the options are endless. Of course its fabulous the next day, nice and cold out of the fridge, perfect breakfast with some smoked salmon 🙂

 

 

 

 

Sunday Lunch, actually more like Sunday Dinner…

Sunday Lunch, this is a tradition that I really loved when I lived in England and kind of miss it. Sunday Lunch is about family time, after lunch table stories, was going to say good food, but now that I think about it everything was kind of under-seasoned and not too tasty, but what the heck, we had lots of Gin and Tonics before and, followed by lots of wine and finished it all off with some delectable port wine so by then, we had forgotten all about the food :-).

My lovely daughter had asked me a few days ago if I could make some Roasted Lamb, and I couldn’t think of a better day to do it than on a Sunday. Instead of lunch I made it for dinner, and by the end of the evening I had to very happy kids.

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Earlier this afternoon I seasoned my lamb with lots of salt and pepper, stuffed it all over with lots of garlic, and gave it a nice lemon and olive oil rubbing and of course lots and lots of fresh Rosemary from the garden.

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Whilst the lamb was roasting away, I thinly sliced some (6) peeled potatoes.

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Then in a large saucepan I melted 3 tbsp of butter over low heat. Stirred in 3 tbsp of flour,  1 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper until smooth. Gradually added 2 cups of milk. Brought it to a boil and cooked and stired it for 2 minutes or until thickened. Removed from heat and stirred in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Add sliced potatoes and 1/2 chopped onion.

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Transfered it to my pyrex oven dish, covered it and baked for 1 hour at 350 Deg F, then Uncovered and baked for another 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and nicely golden.

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By now my lovely lamb is at the perfect medium rare (160 deg) took it out, covered it with foil and let it rest for a bit.

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I also steamed some broccoli that got tossed with salt and pepper and some sesame oil.

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Made a quick gravy (real gravy, not that thick sludgy white stuff) with the lamb drippings and got the mint jelly and sauce and there we have it, Sunday Dinner is ready. Pity we were missing the hubby but as he loves telling everyone, “I have to work so my wife and go shopping at Kohl’s”!

Yeah I know, he has issues ❤ but I till love him to bits 🙂