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Comforting corned beef

May 14, 2012

Home corned beef for my New York Reuben sandwich

You know, I hated corned beef as a kid. The smell would pervade the house and everything would taste the same – like corned beef! Consequently, as an adult, I never went near the stuff, ever. Until now…

On our recent trip to New York, one of my “to-do-list” items was have a Reuben Sandwich, pickles & all. This century old invention, often featured in Woody Allen flicks, curiously attracted me. I always thought they were made with pastrami but was quickly to learn that a traditional Reuben is made from hot corned beef, lots of sauerkraut….swiss cheese on rye and…..thousand island dressing!??

Ok, so I sampled the thousand island dressing, just a little bit, to give it a try, but the sandwich really didn’t need it. There were plenty of flavours already with the hot salty beef, the nutty melted cheese and the sharpness of the sauerkraut – YUM.

My pre-conceived pastrami notion is actually a known variation of the Reuben, called a “Rachel” and is served with coleslaw instead of sauerkraut! I didn’t see that on any menu’s while we were away.

So back home, I went to buy some corned beef, and to my horror, could not find a chemical free, organic version anywhere.. Not anywhere. I reluctantly bought a small supermarket piece and took it home to cook. When I opened the packet I was not prepared for the “gloop” that emerged, the smell and “manufacture”. I persisted in cooking it to the packet directions much to the disdain of Mr 13. The outcome was a shrunken heavy brick, nitrate pink and not appealing at all. The hoards at home wouldn’t have a bar of it so I came up with this adaption from Cyndi O’Meara’s version at Changing Habits.  I have added a few herbs and extended the timing a little. It’s far more superior and healthier than a supermarket version – and not difficult at all.

1 kg organic silverside beef
3 tabs salt – I use Himalayan
2 tabs rapadura sugar
1 tab cracked black pepper
1 long sprig Rosemary
1 teas coriander seeds
Chop the rosemary, coriander,salt & sugar together, SP 8, 5 seconds. Stab the meat all over with a skewer and rub the dry marinade into the flesh. Sit on a rack in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. I did mine for 3. Rinse under the tap and set in the steamer basket.
120g orange juice
500g hot water
2 tabs treacle
1 tab rapadura
1 onion, quartered
8 cloves
3 bay leaves
1 clove garlic
Place all ingredients in the TM bowl and cook on SP 2 for 5 minutes VAROMA temp.
Top up with 800g water and place steamer basket in bowl and steam meat for 60 minutes at 100°C, SP 2 with the MC on. Turn meat over and cook for a further 30 minutes. Place meat into thermoserver and pour over cooking liquor. Cool.

To make a Reuben sandwich, toast a couple of pieces of Light Rye bread and spread with Dijon mustard.

Top with a generous helping of sauerkraut and slices of corned beef. Melt over a slab of swiss cheese and serve as an open sandwich or close it up and eat!! I don’t serve mine with Thousand Island dressing but instead a crunchy dill cucumber.

Here is my recipe for sauerkraut!

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