Monday, July 6, 2015

Corned beef potato cakes.

Corned beef is one of those truly filling, soul warming meals, the kiwi version of Pot-au-feu. Slices of tender simmered cured meat, salty and sweet, with vegetables, often cooked in the same liquid, and a creamy mustard sauce being the more traditional. Now I like a few vegetables in the cooking liquid, a few stock basics such as carrot, celery and onion, but these are destined for the bin as they are well and truly spent after the long simmer, that is if I don’t cheat with the pressure cooker, fresh vegetables are added nearer the end so they are still vibrant and only just touched with the salty goodness of the stock. Other additions are important too, pimento, clove, garlic and ginger, some people add sugar or vinegar I forego these. My ideal dish is a plate with a few slices of beef, a smear of hot english mustard, poached baby fennel and carrot, and a baked potato that has been sliced in half and had some cooking liquid spooned over it.

When preparing a meal that you know, with a little self control, there will be substantial leftovers it’s always nice to prepare a little extra to make the next meal a meal to itself rather than just a rehash, so it’s always ideal to roast a few extra spuds or vege, even if it’s to throw together a spicy hash for brunch the next day, add in some bok choy, chilli and fish sauce topped with a fried egg you have quite the meal.

This recipe, however, was more the cart before the horse as I had plans for leftovers that didn’t exist yet, so we had a nice corned beef dinner and extra spuds were baked in the oven.

Corned beef, shredded or chopped
Baked potatoes
Cheddar, grated
Panko breadcrumbs

While the potatoes are still warm, peel or scoop the flesh out of the skins and pass through a mouli, or fine sieve. Add the beef, a dollop of butter, handful of chopped parsley and cheese, stir through with a spatula. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Press down into a dish lined with cling film, you want it to be about 1–2cm thick. Cover and place in the fridge to firm up overnight. If you don’t feel that your potato mixture is going to hold together add in a spoon of flour and an egg, it’s nicer if you don’t though.

Set up three bowls, one with seasoned flour, one with beaten egg mixed with a little water and the third with panko crumbs. Remove the potato mixture from the fridge and cut into rounds, you should be able to mash and scraps together to form patties. Gently coat a round in flour then egg and cover in crumbs, arrange on a tray and when all done place into the fridge for at least half an hour.

Heat a heavy based skillet on a medium heat with a centimetre of oil in it. When hot, place the rounds in the oil and cook until golden brown all over. Transfer to a rack to drain.

Serve with watercress salad and fried egg, oh and plenty of hot sauce.

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