Winter means our slow cooker gets a major workout with my family's all time favourite dish of corned beef being one of the most popular requests. For us it goes hand in hand with winter. The aroma of corned beef cooking slowly invokes strong memories of past family get-togethers when I was a child. One of the first things I attempted to cook when I moved out of home was corned beef; to my utter horror it never quite tasted the same as my grandmother's. After many unsatisfactory attempts with varying amounts of different ingredients, I begged my grandmother for her recipe. To my surprise, she directed me to my grandfather who it appeared was the culinary expert when it came to corned beef.
So to save everyone the heartache of not quite right old style corned beef and to make the cows sacrifice worth while here is our family recipe for corned beef and please excuse the slap dash style of adding the malt vinegar; it does work, I have been following my grandfather's rather liberal instructions and never had a failed corned beef since.
These days I do my corned beef in a slow cooker which I put on around 10am in the morning and the meat is more than ready by 6pm, but a large saucepan on low to medium heat will suffice. My local butcher is always helpful, I tell them how many people I will be feeding and they select the right size for me. Since being bestowed with this recipe, I have had to add an extra person to my number to allow for seconds and to meet the demands that it be put on sandwiches for work and school the next day. I usually end up with a side of corned beef, which is between 1.5kgs and 2kgs.
You will need: Side of corned beef One brown onion One carrot Four bay leaves Half a cup of firmly packed brown sugar (1 cup if you have a piece of meat over 2kgs)
Two litres of malt vinegar (I always buy the 2L bottle as its better value for money and how much you use will depend on how large your piece of corned beef is.)
Slow cooker or large saucepan with a lid
1. Peel and slice onion into quarters.
2. Top and tail carrot, leave the peel on and cut into quarters.
3. Add onion, carrot, bay leaves and sugar to slow cooker or saucepan.
4. Remove corned beef from the plastic packaging (the butchers instructions say to leave it in the bag and cook, but trust me this is the secret to getting the real vinegary old style corned beef flavour)
7. Cover with the lid and set the slow cooker to high for an hour, then reduce to the lowest setting. If you are using a saucepan bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer and cover with lid. Cooking time will vary according to the size of your side of corned beef, but as a general rule I allow 30 minutes of cooking time per 500grams of meat.
8. Turn the meat over half way through the cooking time so that the exposed portion of corned beef has a chance to cook.
9. Slice up and serve with steamed veggies and fluffy mashed potato.
Good traditional recipe, I also add approx. 15-20 of each whole cloves and whole black peppercorns and a pinch of nutmeg, a clove or 2 of garlic (whole) and half a swede (peeled & quartered) when cooking corned beef. It still has the traditional taste while adding more flavour. A definite family favourite.
Hi watts, I tend to leave it going all day (start at approx. 9am). It's in liquid and on low so won't dry out. Plus I find the longer I leave it the more meat just falls apart it's that tender! Good luck