Thursday, November 13, 2008

Corned Beef

As a Filipina who grew up in the Philippines, my favorite corned beef was the Argentina brand. All I knew of corned beef then was that it came canned. I was surprised when my MIL once handed this slab of corned beef. I just had to look up on the internet what really was corned beef, and here's my answer:

"Old-time butcher shops closed every weekend. Ice, the only refrigerant available, could not dependably hold fresh meat for two days. To keep unsold meat from going to waste, the butcher soaked the meat in a strong brine or covered it with coarse salt to trigger osmosis. The grains of salt were called "corn" in England, and the name "corned beef" stuck with the product.

Corning is a form of curing; it has nothing to do with corn. The name comes from Anglo-Saxon times before refrigeration. In those days, the meat was dry-cured in coarse "corns" of salt. Pellets of salt, some the size of kernels of corn, were rubbed into the beef to keep it from spoiling and to preserve it.

Today brining -- the use of salt water -- has replaced the dry salt cure, but the name "corned beef" is still used, rather than "brined" or "pickled" beef. Commonly used spices that give corned beef its distinctive flavor are peppercorns and bay leaf. Of course, these spices may vary regionally."


So, I asked my hubby how they usually prepare this one (any Filipino would know a different way of enjoying canned corned beef -- sauteed with garlic and onions). Apparently they prepare this only as New England Boiled Dinner. Translated to Filipino cooking: "Nilaga" with the typical veggies potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. So that was how I prepared this slab of corned beef. It was different but very good! We did have a lot of leftover (this slab could feed two or three families!). So, I tried to mimic the corned beef I knew by shredding then sauteeing with some veggies as shown.

For those who might be interested, corned beef slabs are available in grocery stores.

I remember another thing I used to do with Argentina corned beef -- as filling for the dough used for pan de coco. I used to just mix chopped medium onion with 1 small can of Argentina corned beef, then proceed with using this as filling before I bake the rolls. I used to sell them when I was still going to school, and they were always sold out.

I still miss Argentina corned beef...


Liz Stambaugh said...

That looks really good! My brother's birthday is on St. Patricks day, so my mom and I always experiment on making corned beef. I wil have to try your way!

Nina said...

I once attended a gathering in the Phils catered by The Plaza and they have boiled corned beef in their menu! The boiled corned beef was really good!

Manang said...

Hi Nina,
Thanks for visiting.
I wonder how they prepared their corned beef...Must be a combination of Western and Filipino spices!

Manang said...

Gie, thanks for the recipe! Bumili ako ngayon ng pineapple juice. Maybe I will try this weekend your recipe.

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