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SUPER SIMMERS

Add a little variety and flavour to family meals with pickled or corned meats. The traditional method of cooking these treats is commonly known as boiling. However, the term is a misnomer. Boiling is spoiling — simmering or poaching is best as this prevents the meat from toughening.  

Generally corned meats are placed in a saucepan of cold water to cover and slowly brought to a simmer. Placing the meat directly into boiling water causes the meat to shrink. Seasonings such as sugar, spices, herbs plus flavoursome vegetables — for example, fennel, onion and parsnip — can be added.

Root veggies to serve with the meat can be added about 30 minutes prior to serving.

If the cooking water isn’t too salty, then it may be kept for use in soups or casseroles. If preferred, corned meats can be soaked in cold water for a few hours to remove some of the salt.

Cooked corned meats are delicious in salads, they can be diced and added to muffins or scones and of course, they are a favourite in Friday night hash. Sauté a diced onion in oil, add leftover mashed potatoes, diced beetroot and diced corned beef. Fry it up and serve with generous amounts of tomato and or mustard.

Meats that are not corned can also be ‘simmered’.

KOREAN PORK WRAPS

This treat is based on the Korean dish, Bossam. It may also be cooked in a slow cooker for 6 hours. Use 3 cups of water only. The recipe following uses fresh pork but pickled pork is also delicious. I used Living Goodness Heart Beet Kraut. Their Sum Yum Kimchi would also be an excellent accompaniment.

6 cups water
1 small onion
6 large cloves garlic
3cm piece root ginger, sliced
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
1 teaspoon each: coffee powder, salt
2 bay leaves
1.75kg shoulder or belly pork
Pickle: 1/2 daikon (long white radish)
1 teaspoon salt
2 green ends spring onions, chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
1 shake chilli flakes
1 teaspoon each: fish sauce, sesame oil, sugar
Accompaniments: small crisp lettuce cups, pickled red cabbage or kimchi, julienned carrots, radish pickle 

Place the water in a very large saucepan and add all the other ingredients. Bring to the boil slowly. Reduce the heat to poaching level and cook for about 2 hours, until the meat is very tender.

Meanwhile, make the pickle. Julienne half the daikon. Sprinkle with the salt and stand for 30 minutes, until softened. Rinse under cold water and pat dry. Combine with the remaining ingredients.

When the meat is cooked, carefully remove the fat and any bone. Slice the meat and arrange on a platter. Add the lettuce cups, red cabbage pickle or kimchi, carrots and radish pickle. 

This is a shared platter. Place the hot or cold meat in lettuce cups and top with the pickles and vegetables. Serves about 6.

POACHED MEATLOAF

This is the ideal way of cooking meat and veg in one pot. 

500g lean minced beef
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs
1 small onion, grated
1 long chilli, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
1/2 cup tomato sauce

Combine all the ingredients well — except the tomato sauce. Shape into a firm loaf and place on a large sheet of foil. Bring the sides up to form a cradle. Drizzle the top with the tomato sauce.

Place about 4 cups of water in a large saucepan. Lower the loaf in the foil into the water. Bring to a simmer. If preferred, add chunks of vegetables such as peeled potatoes and kumara. Poach for about 30 minutes. Remove the meatloaf and, if necessary, continue cooking the veggies, until tender. Serves 4.

NEW YORK-STYLE CORNED BEEF ON RYE

1.5kg corned beef eg silverside or brisket
1 onion studded with cloves
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons each: cider vinegar, prepared mustard
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cornflour
4 thick slices dark rye bread
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 cups thinly sliced cabbage

Place the corned beef in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the onion and bay leaves. Slowly bring to the boil. Cover and simmer/poach gently for 45 minutes per 500g. If preferred, add carrots and/or potatoes 30 minutes before the end of cooking.

Combine the vinegar, mustard, maple syrup and cornflour in a saucepan and simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the silverside in a baking pan. Baste the meat the with the vinegar mixture. Bake for about 10 minutes, basting often.

Spread the rye bread with mayonnaise, top with the cabbage and slices of the corned beef.

(The leftover meat will provide another 4 servings.) Makes 4 open rye sandwiches.



Columns by Jan Bilton
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