Citizens, the word corn in corned beef has nothing to do with the vegetable: it actually derives from Old English, and is used to describe any small hard particles or grains. Corned beef as a recipe probably dates back to the early Middle Ages!
In the case of “corned beef”, the word may refer to the coarse granular salts used to cure the beef.
Although a frequent menu choice in Jewish delis as “corned beef on rye”, the dish has strong Irish roots as well. With St. Patrick’s Day almost upon us, it seemed apropos to showcase my personal recipe to make this at home.
Interesting anecdote – Wikipedia notes the following:
In North America corned beef dishes are associated with traditional Irish cuisine. However there is considerable debate about the association of corned beef with Ireland. Mark Kurlansky, in his book Salt, states that the Irish produced a salted beef around the Middle Ages that was the “forerunner of what today is known as Irish corned beef” and in the 17th century the English named the Irish salted beef “corned beef”.
Some say it was not until the wave of 18th century Irish immigration to the United States that much of the ethnic Irish first began to consume corned beef dishes as seen today. The popularity of corned beef compared to bacon among the immigrant Irish may have been due to corned beef being considered a luxury product in their native land, while it was cheaply and readily available in America
In Ireland today, the serving of corned beef is geared toward tourist consumption and most Irish in Ireland do not identify the ingredient as native cuisine. It can be made at home, is supremely delicious and not a difficult dish to make – but it is time-consuming. Never fear, Citizens – I am here to guide you to success!
I use a few unusual spices in my pickling spice mixture, feel free to substitute others that are easier to find if you so choose. That said, try and use my spice suggestions if you can. They aren’t THAT hard to find: for example, you can purchase Balinese Long Peppercorns here. Pink curing salt is a necessity in this recipe to give the beef its proper color – DO NOT EAT THIS, IT’S TOXIC IN LARGE QUANTITIES!
Pink salt is a curing salt with nitrite, called by different names and sold under various brand names, such as tinted cure mix or T.C.M., DQ Curing Salt, and Insta Cure #1. The nitrite in curing salts does a few special things to meat: It changes the flavor, preserves the meat’s red color, prevents fats from developing rancid flavors, and prevents many bacteria from growing. In small amounts, it’s fine and it is colored shocking neon pink to make sure you don’t accidentally mistake it for salt or sugar. Buy it here.
I promise this will make the finest version of this recipe you’ll ever taste – pair it with top-quality mustard and you will truly savor the flavor! 😀
Battle on – The Generalissimo
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