This post marks my first foray into the world of homemade charcuterie, and if the success of this dish is any indication, we are in for a fun and delicious few months of experimenting with this rather ancient culinary tradition. You see, I’ve joined a group of adventurous food bloggers in what has been named “Charcutepalooza – A Year of Charcuterie”. The purpose of the group, which was founded and is being managed by the amazing bloggers Mrs. Wheelbarrow, and the The Yummy Mummy, is to encourage all of us participating to delve into the mystical world of charcuterie with a little help from cookbook author and food writer extrordinaire, Michael Ruhlman.
Michael recently teamed up with charcuterie Jedi Master, Chef Brian Polcyn of Five Lakes Grill near Detroit, and together they wrote the fabulous cookbook Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing. Each month, we are challenged by Cathy (Mrs. Wheelbarrow) and Kim (The Yummy Mummy) to explore a charcuterie method from the book, and then develop and blog about a recipe that uses the results of our salting, smoking, or curing prowess. Cool, huh?
In typical “Oui, Chef” fashion I’m a bit late to the party here, and missed the first two months of collective cooking….oops. January’s challenge was to make Duck Proscuitto (bummer, I would have loved this), and February’s was to cure some sort of meat with salt (and this I would have loved even more because to me, meat + salt = BACON!). Oh well, Mr. Better-Late-Than-Never finally got engaged in time for the 3rd monthly challenge which involves using the charcuterie technique of brining to create homemade corned beef.
What does it take to corn beef you might ask? Nothing more than buying a 4-5 pound piece of beef brisket, brining it in a mix of salt, water and pickling spices for 5 days, then finally gently cooking it in fresh water and some more of the pickling mix for about 3 hours. As such, this was a perfect first exploration of charcuterie for me, it was flat out simple, and the resulting meat so tender and flavorful that I’ll be making another one soon so that I can really have fun using the meat to create all sorts of wonderful dishes.
My first use for our delicious corned brisket is this dish of corned beef hash with poached eggs. I am a huge fan of hash, but only when its made in this rustic manner, with rather large pieces of beef, potato and vegetables, not the canned, finely ground stuff that looks like pet food. Most hashes are made simply from corned beef, some chopped onion, and cubed russet potatoes along with some herbs and spices. To commemorate my first made-from-scratch corned beef I wanted to do something a little special, and so decided to elevate this dish with the inclusion of roasted carrots, beets, whole garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme and mustard. It was knock-your-socks-off good, especially once topped with a pair of perfect 3 1/2 minute poached eggs.
For those of you who don’t have a lot of experience poaching eggs, I’ve embedded a video below that will give you step-by-step instructions as to how to make them. It is from an on-line cooking school called Rouxbe, and I’ve been chosen to become an affiliate member of theirs to help spread the word about the great resources they offer aspiring home cooks. If you like what you see in the video and want to learn more about what the school offers, follow the link located below the video and check them out, I think you’ll be very impressed with what you find. I’ll be sharing more about their great videos and instruction in upcoming posts.
Cheers – Steve
- 4-5 pound, corned beef brisket
- 1-2 large organic eggs per person
- 6 baby potatoes, well washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 6 baby beets, trimmed of greens and washed
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon, finely minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon, finely minced fresh thyme
- kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- Coat the beets lightly with olive oil, place them into a small baking dish, cover the dish with foil and place it into a pre-heated 400℉ oven. Cook the beets for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a paring knife can be easily inserted into the largest beet. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before rubbing them free of their skins in between a few sheets of paper towels. Cut into bite sized pieces and reserve.
- While the beets are cooking, toss the cut potatoes, carrots and garlic cloves with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Place the sheet into the oven along side the beets and cook until nicely browned, stirring occassionally, about 1/2 hour. When cooked, remove the sheet tray from the oven and reserve.
- Cutting against the grain, remove and cube about 2-3 cups worth of the corned brisket, reserving the balance for another use.
- Poach the eggs as directed in the video below, and move them to an ice-water bath at the 3 1/2- 4 minute mark (for a nice runny yolk), and let them sit there until you are ready to serve. At that point, lower them gently back into the poaching pot for 30-45 seconds to reheat before placing them on a plated mound of hash.
- To finish the hash, saute the onion in a hot skillet with a little glug of EVOO until lightly browned. Toss in the roasted vegetables, potatoes, garlic and cubed beef. Sprinkle with the minced herbs and add the mustard and mustard seeds. Moisten with a touch of chicken stock or water if the mix seems a bit dry, toss to combine and heat until all the elements are warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve, mound some hash on each plate, and top with 1-2 reheated poached eggs, sprinkle with a little Maldon Sea Salt (if you have some), and prepare to be blown away.