Corned beef for Easter canapés
Beef brisket is a versatile and an expensive primal cut of beef that can by various cooking methods become barbecue, pot roast, pastrami or as here, corned beef. Pot roast, pastrami and corned beef are related in that the brisket is cooked in water or steam to fork-tender. Pastrami and corned beef differ from pot roast by a pickling process before the brisket is cooked. Pastrami calls for an intermediate step of smoking between brining and cooking the brisket to fork tender.
Corned beef and pastrami are pickled in a brine for 5 days in the refrigerator. The brine comprising water, iodine-free salt, sugar, pink salt and spices, must be boiled to dissolve the sugar and then refrigerated. Schedule at least 6 days to prepare corned beef.
Collect these ingredients for the brine:
- 1 gallon water
- 2 c/450 g Kosher salt
- 1/2 c/100g sugar
- 1 oz/25 g/ 5 t pink salt
- 2 T/30 g pickling salt
- 3 minced cloves of garlic
Bring the water to a boil, add the salts and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Set the pan aside to allow it to return to room temperature. When cooled, add the minced garlic and refrigerate.
After the brine is cold, submerge the brisket in the brine. I use 2-gallon Ziplock-brand bags. Any brining bag will do. Alternatively, put the brine in a container large enough to hold the liquid and brisket. Put a weight on top of the brisket to hold the meat fully submerged. A Ziplock bag filled with cold water does the trick. If using the brining bag, pour the brine over the brisket and remove the air from the bag before sealing. The brisket is pickled for 5 days. Turn the brisket every 24 hours to stir the brine. Make certain the brisket is covered by the brine.
At the end of the brining period, remove the brisket from the brine and wash it in cool water. Place the brisket in a pan and cover it with fresh water. Add 2 T/30 g of pickling salt. Cook the brisket until it is fork tender; approximately 3 hours. Reserve the brine for seasoning side dishes such as boiled potatoes and cabbage. I also cook potatoes and cabbage in the brine. The corned beef can be served hot or cold.
For Easter canapés, Kate offered cocktail rye bread, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing with thinly sliced, cold corn beef.