Sunday, 27 July 2008

Corned Beef and all that jazz

Corned beef with mash, cabbage, and parsley sauce - a British classic, and actually pretty tasty with it. Especially when you add some hot mustard. But what was I thinking again? This requires at least one pan per component. And the bloke is sick, so who's going to clean up? And there are lots of one pot recipes for corned beef and cabbage. Why am I not doing one of those? I must be daft.

This week I have rehearsals Sun, Tues & Thurs, and a yoga class on Monday. I need quick reheatable food, and this should mostly fit the bill. The potato, cabbage and sauce can last one more meal, and there's still plenty of corned beef for sandwiches. Perhaps a pasta on Wednesday will help vary things, and bought soup and cheese toasties are always an option. And there's baked beans left over from last week.

So anyway, I went ahead with the four pot dinner, and took a photo even though it's not the most photogenic of meals. One of the pots is for a simple potato mash with some turnip in it. Recipe: boil in lightly salted water for 20 minutes, drain, mash, add butter or milk to taste. More detailed recipes for the rest follow:

Corned Beef in Beer
1.5 kg piece of corned beef
1 jug beer
1 onion
6 cloves
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

Rinse corned beef and put in slow cooker or large saucepan. Cover with beer, add onion and spices. Cook on slow cooker's high setting, or at a very slow simmer for 4-5 hours.

Light Parsley Sauce

1 cup chicken stock
1 cup non-fat milk
1 onion
2 bay leaves
1 bunch parsley, leaves chopped finely, stems saved
2 tablespoons cornflour
Combine milk and chicken stock, add onion, bay leaf and the parsley stems. Bring to a simmer, then turn off heat and leave to infuse for an hour or two. To make the sauce, strain the cool milk and stock mixture into a saucepan, and stir in the cornflour, mixing well. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. When the sauce thickens, add the chopped parsley.

Note: if the milk isn't cool, mix up the cornflour in a 1/4 cup of water first, to avoid lumps. I invented this sauce when we were more determinedly trying to lose weight, and I like it rather better than the usual bechamel in this context. Adding some lemon zest is a nice option.

Saute Cabbage

1/4 cabbage, shredded, rinsed well
1 onion, sliced
1 apple, peeled & sliced
1 tablespoon of light oil
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Fry onion in oil until lightly golden. Add caraway seeds, apple and cabbage. There should still be some water clinging to the cabbage; if not add 1/4 cup or so. Add the vinegar. Let this cook down for 5-20 minutes depending on how well done you like it. I prefer it quite soft with the corned beef.

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