Saturday, 13 November 2010

Project: Salt Beef - Part II

After two weeks of waiting the salt beef was finally ready to come out of its salty bath. Admittedly it didn't look to promising straight out of the brine.

However, once I'd cleaned off all the gunk (technical term there) and boiled it for 3 hours (together with a leek, a carrot and half an onion), dear Lord, what a magnificent meaty delight I had on my hands.
The meat was a exactly the right pink colour I'd hoped for (the effort of getting hold of some saltpetre had been worthwhile). It was just tender enough to carve easily and then gently fall apart with only the gentlest of probing with the eating irons.

One thing to note, is that it was definitely worthwhile trying to get as much fat off as possible before brining. The small scraps I had left on the surface had jellified and were not particularly pleasant. Thankfully, once cooked they were easily removed.

To celebrate, I had a traditional Irish meal of potatoes, carrots, cabbage and salt beef with some of the cooking broth. (Once the beef was cooked I left it to rest wrapped in a foil sarcophagus whilst I cooked the other veg in some of the cooking liquor.)

How tasty? Very. The meat was beautifully spiced, just sufficient to accentuate it's flavour.

However, that still left me with over 80% of the joint left. So, the following morning I made some mayo (spiced with cayenne) and took in four rounds of sandwiches to work for Jess, The Tilbatron and Karen.

The mayo worked well with the beef. The generous slices of meat were incredibly satisfying and seemed to just melt in my mouth without requiring much chewing. I think it's fair to say that the others were equally pleased with their lunch.

Rather sadly I polished off the last bit in another sandwich for a Saturday afternoon treat. I had two dinners and five generous sandwiches from a 4lb joint and after 2 weeks. Was it worthwhile? I think so, as it was an absolute treat and I had to stop myself picking at the meat every time I opened the fridge door. Let's just say it's not something I'll be making regularly but I'm pretty sure this won't be the last time.

All that remains is to try Jess's

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