Thursday, March 17, 2005
Insert Appropriately Corny Title Here
Raw Meat in Plastic Bag (Corning)
Because I enjoy trying out recipes for things you wouldn't expect you could make at home (cheese, graham crackers, tortillas, etc.), of course I also had to try corning my own beef for St. Patrick's Day. Friends may call this making life more complicated (why make graham crackers when you can buy them? they say, throwing up their hands in exasperation), but I call it fun. Research. A kind of science, if you will.
My blogdaughter Susan was enthusiastic about this idea, bless her heart. And she brought up the question that has left us all stumped for so long: what is the difference between corned beef and pastrami? I promised to do a little research and post the answer here. Very basically, the answer is that the two start the same (corning means to preserve with salt, which used to be shaped like little corns), but pastrami is also smoked and then steamed. So there you are! More knowledgeable than you were, just moments ago.
The above photo is what it looks like while corning, which is not the most thrilling photo ever but it gives you an idea of how easy this is. Rub it in the salt stuff, put in plastic bag, stow in fridge. Ta dah!
So the home cured beef is now simmering away in the crockpot. Two friends who agreed to be guinea pigs for this experiment are coming over to help me eat it. The Irish Soda Bread is cooling on the kitchen counter. And the enormous variety of root vegetables are waiting to be boiled with the beef this evening. I couldn't stop myself at the store; I bought carrots, cabbage, parsnips, boiling onions, turnips and best of all, rutabega!!! When the cashier at the grocery store picked it up, she asked me what it was. I said "Rutabega." She said, "What?" And stared at me like I had just spoken in Mandarin. Ah, kids these days. They just don't know their root vegetables. No wonder things are going downhill.
The Elusive Rutabega
Anyhow, I'll post the photos tomorrow from the dinner tonight. I'll be curious to see how the flavor of home corned beef is different from the store corned, which Cooks Illustrated dismisses as inedible. Time will tell ...