Corned beef is a dependable hearty stalwart, deeply associated with the rustic heart of Irish cooking (among others). There’s a fine history behind this one-pot-wonder that speaks of contented stomachs and warmed hearts on cold nights. A slice of cold cut in the morning is always a welcome hangover cure, too.
The briny unctuousness of the meat just tastes like a classic home-cooked meal. Traditionally served with onions, carrots and boiled potatoes in their skins with a dollop of wholegrain mustard on the side; here’s another way of looking at it:
There’s not a lot of subtlety involved in cooking your corned beef once it’s been properly prepared. Place beef in the crock pot with enough water to almost cover it – close the lid and let it cook for 1.5 to 2 hours (you can also add cloves, apple cider vinegar and brown sugar if you like). Following that, finish it off with about thirty minutes in the pressure cooker.
In the meantime, get a start on the rosti by thickly grating the potatoes. Squeeze out the excess moisture and set aside while you finely mince the shallot. Throw them together with a few sprigs of dill, a pinch of flour and a squirt of mustard.
When you’re just about ready to take the brisket out of the cooker, shape the grated ingredients into patties and pan fry with a neutral oil until crisp and golden.
For the sauce heat the cream, lemon juice and remaining mustard over a low heat until loose and silky – you may wish to add a little water if you want a thinner sauce. Bruise a fistful of dill in your hands and throw in for about twenty seconds before removing from the heat.
The key to balancing this dish is in how you slice the corned beef. Let it rest for 10 minutes and take the most murderously sharp knife you own to it – you want thin slices so as to not overpower the sauce with the briny savoriness of the meat. Put down your bed of lettuce and place rolls of beef atop the rosti in the centre. Spoon the sauce over and scatter with wafers of apple.
Drink with wine. Red or white, just enjoy it.