Corned beef has been a family staple for years – and for good reason. It’s a crowd pleaser, and this hearty meal is perfect for those cooler months. When done correctly, corned beef can be a mouthwatering and tender dish.
There are many ways to cook corned beef with both traditional and modern approaches. Here you’ll find the traditional cooktop method, which is both simple and effective. You can just as easily use a slow cooker over eight hours for an even more tender piece of beef.
Corned beef can be served hot with classic accompaniments such as white sauce and cabbage, or saved for later to be used as a delectable sandwich filler.
What you need to know:
When it comes to cuts of meat the most popular choices are corned brisket or corned silverside. Choose the cut you prefer or is readily available to you.
It is important to note that if you choose corned brisket you’ll have the choice between the point cut and the flat cut. While the point cut is rounder, has more marbling and full of flavour and juiciness, the flat cut is leaner making is easier to slice uniformly for sandwiches.
- 1.5kg of corned brisket or corned silverside
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ cup of apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- A peeled onion, chopped into wedges and studded with cloves
- 2 carrots cut into large chunks
- 2 sticks of celery cut into large chunks
- 3 potatoes cut into wedges
- A cabbage head chopped into wedges
- 50g butter
- 3 tbsp of flour
- 1.5 cups of milk
Rinse the meat in cold water to remove the surface brine and reduce saltiness.
Place the meat in a large pot and fill with cold water – until the meat is fully submerged.
Add in the brown sugar, vinegar, onion, bay leaves, carrot, celery and potatoes.
Slowly bring to the boil and then immediately cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Keep the meat cooking at a gentle simmer. Occasionally check to ensure the meat is still fully submerged and any foam that has risen to the top should be skimmed from the surface using a slotted spoon.
Keep at this heat for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes – as a general rule allow 25-30 minutes per 500g. To check the meat is cooked you can test it by inserting a fork into the middle of the meat – if the fork easily goes through your corned beef is ready.
When there is 30 minutes of cooking time remaining add in the cabbage.
Turn off heat, remove the meat and let it rest for 10 minutes. This will allow the meat to firm up before carving. While the meat is resting prepare the white sauce.
Making the white sauce
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.
Add flour and mix to a smooth paste.
Remove the pan from the heat and add milk gradually, while continuously stirring.
Return pan to heat and allow the sauce to gradually boil and thicken – continue stirring occasionally through this process. Once thickened, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside ready to drizzle over your carved meat.
Carving the corned beef
When carving the meat, start at the top and work against the grain – this may require turning the beef as you go for consistency. This carving technique will result in maximum tenderness.