Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: Salt beef
Showing posts with label Salt beef. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salt beef. Show all posts

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Salt Beef Soft Shell Tacos

We are always looking for new ways to use salt beef... it is one of our favourite pieces of meat and I never get tired of brining and eating a good brisket. Recently we got hold of some dried chilies of ranging heats and flavours so we've become a little obsessed with Mexican food, so it seemed only right that we blend these two passions, and what better way than with tacos.

I love making flat breads, whether its naans and rotis to eat with a curry, or pittas for greek salads and dips. They are always simple to make, don't need time to rise and can be cooked using just a hot frying pan. So, unlike a crunchy taco shell, that will inevitably collapse, resulting in guacamole over the entire face and a sour cream covered shirt, we went for soft tacos, which are more manoeuvrable and durable, and will hold all the delicious filling you can cram in.

To accompany the salt beef we had a homemade guacamole, and pico de gallo (tomato salsa), as well as chimichurri, an Argentinian salsa verde. This vibrant fresh herb sauce is incredible with everything from salad, to steak, to fish and can even be used as a BBQ marinade. Traditionally made with parsley, fresh oregano, garlic and chilli, to work with the salt beef I added dill and gherkins with cider vinegar.

Recipe serves 3-4 (don't be put off by the number of items in the list - most of them are the kinds of things you will have in the fridge or cupboards)

For the tacos
200g plain flour
2 egg yolks
25g lard/butter
100ml water
A pinch of salt

For the chimichurri (to add to 400g salt beef)
Half a bunch parsley
Half a bunch oregano
Half a bunch dill
1 chilli (or more if you fancy)
3 midsize gherkins
A glug of cider vinegar
A pinch of salt

An avocado
Half a red onion
Juice of 1 lime
Half a chilli

Pico de Gallo
10 cherry tomatoes
2 spring onions
Half a chilli
A splash of balsamic vinegar
A good pinch of salt
A pinch of sugar


Start with the Pico de Gallo, as that will continue improving in flavour until its ready to eat (this can be prepared the day before and kept in the fridge). Chop the tomatoes in half and the onions as finely as you can and place in a bowl. Chop the chilli as big as you fancy and add it to the malaise. To this add the vinegar, salt and sugar: while the sugar may seem out of place, it will help to soften the onions' strength and frankly it's brill with tomatoes.

The guacamole is best done on the day as the avocado can have a tendency to blacken which isn't too great to eat. First, halve and de-stone the avocado: to do this, slice directly down to the stone and cut all the way round. Next, grab the avocado so you can see the cut between your thumbs and simply twist in opposite directions and pull apart. Then firmly strike the stone with a sharp knife and twist the stone, it will stay with the knife and be freed from the fleshy avocado joy.

Once the avocado is in half with the stone removed, use a spoon to scoop out the 70s bathroom coloured innards leaving behind the skin. Then chop as finely as desired. I like my guacamole quite coarsely chopped, but if you like your guac smooth then simply mash with a fork. To this, add some finely chopped red onion, chilli and the juice of a lime (the acid will help stop the discolouration).

The bread is a simple case of putting all the ingredients in a bowl and bringing together until a dough is formed. Knead on a floured surface until the dough is smooth, leave to rest for about 20 minutes, then knead again and split into 8 equal pieces before rolling into thin circles. Cook in a dry hot frying pan, turning occasionally to keep them from burning. When the breads have puffed up slightly and coloured to a golden brown put to one side in a warm oven.

The chimichurri is not particularly graceful to make - simply chuck everything into a blender until smooth. Again this is a personal choice: if you fancy a more coarse sauce then just chop them together until you've got a consistency to your liking.

The last step is to heat the meat. As the salt beef is already cooked, it is just a re-heat jobby, so on a medium heat in a lightly oiled pan, place thinly sliced meat to warm through. Turn once and then add the chimichurri atop the meat. Heat in the pan for another minute and then you're ready to construct the best taco you'll have today! Pop everything into a warm taco, and serve with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese and a side of salad.



Monday, 10 March 2014

French dip salt beef sandwich

As you may have noticed through many a previous post, I am a little bit of a fan of salt beef and pastrami, so when LoveSaltBeef asked me if I thought a variation on the classic French dip sandwich would work, there was only one thing for it: to the butchers!

Essentially a French dip sandwich comprises roast beef, with the bread dipped into a thin but delicious stock or gravy. The difference I took at this point is that instead of a plain stock I felt that the salted meat needed a bit of contrast in the form of mustard heat and a little hint of vinegar sourness.

While I won't go into the creation of salt beef this time (my recipes for which can be found here and here) I will instead show you my take on the gravy and construction of the sandwich.

This recipe makes two hearty sandwiches.

The gravy

1 medium onion
1/2 stick celery
Olive oil for frying
2 large teaspoons mustard (to taste - I used a wholegrain variety with chilli)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Half a pint of good quality beef stock

Fry off the onion and celery until they become limp on a low heat, then turn the heat up and add the mustard. Fry for about 30 seconds, or until the mustard burns the top of your nose, at which point add the vinegar and cook off some of the intensity, again for around another 30 seconds.

To this pungent blend add the stock and bring to a simmer for around 10 minutes. This will allow the vegetables to finish softening and will reduce the mixture slightly. During this time, slice the meat into thick juicy slices and add to the gravy for the last minute or so, with the heat turned low.

As the meat is slowly warming in the gravy, prep the bread. For this I used soft white breadcakes. This is where personal choice comes in, with the amount of liquid you want on your sandwich. Starting with a little dip of just the lid of the sandwich (my wife's choice) to the whole ensemble being served in a Turkish bath of steaming hot meat gravy. Or simply grab the full meaty arrangement in some tongs and plunge it into the pan of meat juices and serve.

As a Yorkshireman this combination of bread and gravy is perfection, normally reserved for the last wonderful moments on a Sunday roast, but which can now be appreciated in full blown sandwich form.



Friday, 27 December 2013

Salt Beef and Pastrami

I have written previously about salt beef and brisket... it is one of my favourite pieces of meat as it becomes tender and delicious when cooked slowly and the fats in the meat dissolve deliciously and keep the meat juicy and tender.

This time I am using a full brisket, weighing about 2.5kgs, and two slightly different brines, one for the salt beef and one for the slightly sweeter pastrami. 


300 grams sea salt
150 grams sugar
30grams Prague powder #1
Half bulb garlic crushed
Large knob of ginger, chopped roughly
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
Tbsp mustard seeds
Tbsp cracked black pepper 
Tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
Tbsp cloves
Tsp chilli
(And for the pastrami only) 3tbsp honey

Coating for pastrami:

2 Tbsp Mustard Seed
2 Tbsp Corriander Seed
2 Tbsp Black Pepper

Boil the brine ingredients with 1.5 litres of water, dissolving the salt, then leave to cool. 

Whole Brisket
Split the meat into 2 pieces - use a thinner piece, about 1/3 of meat, for the pastrami. Undo the trussing on the smaller piece and open it out. Pierce both pieces of meat all over to allow the flavours and salt to permeate, and place each piece of meat into a plastic or ceramic bowl (don't use aluminium as it can react with the meat).

Split the brine over the meat, adding the honey to the pastrami brine. Make sure that you cover the meat completely in liquid - if you are short, top up with a little more boiled water.

Brining the beef
Once this is done, weigh down the meat with a plate to ensure it remains completely submerged in the brine. Cover the bowls in cling film and place in a constantly cool place, whether it be a garage or cellar, or a freakishly large or empty fridge. Turn the meat daily so as to get the best coverage of flavours through the meat.

Leave for between 5-7 days then remove from the brine and rinse if needed - test the saltiness of the meat by lightly frying the a small sliver of meat. Depending on the taste you may need to rinse more than once.

Boil the salt beef
The cooking method used is the major difference between the pastrami and the salt beef. The beef is simply simmered for around 3 hours with a bouquet garni and carrots, onions and leek (never on a hard boil as this will start to dry out the meat). The pastrami is slightly more complex, but definitely worth the effort...

Cooking the pastrami
Coat the Pastrami and place over the chips
Add a couple of handfuls of smoking chips to the bottom of a roasting tin. Place the meat on the grill tray and put into the tin. Start with a blow torch (if you have one) on the chips, or on the hob to get the smoke going, then cover with tin foil leaving plenty of space for smoke to cover the meat. This process can either be done completely on the hob if you have a good extractor or in the oven at about 170°c for around 90 minutes.

Seal the meat so that the smoke/steam is contained

The next step is to steam the meat, using the same pan as before. Clean the chips out from the previous step and add a layer of water to the bottom of the pan, again covering with tin foil. Place on a gentle heat for 90 minutes, checking that the pan doesn't burn dry.

Serve hot on sandwiches with pickles or sauerkraut.

Whilst salt beef does need a bit of patience, it is definitely worth all the effort put in, as the meat at the end is tender and moist and a real show stopper for any occasion.


Visit Smokedust for Prague Powder and Smoke chips as well as other paraphernalia.
For more recipes and ideas visit Love Salt Beef

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Christmas Salt Beef Test Run

So it is coming round to that time of year, where the season of bitter cynicism meets the festive marketing of toys and other crap we don't need wrapped under the guise of joy and giving. A time of year where shops and radio stations feel it is their duty to play the turgid 'Christmas hit' loop with an air of enforced regimented happiness that always makes the yuletide gay. (Note from the wife: these are the opinions of Jim and are not representative of the household as a whole!) With this enforced frivolity comes a time where being drunk at 10 in the morning can be excused with words like "I'm just taking in the christmas spirit". The Coca-Cola red frivolity train does on the other hand bring with it a cargo of encouraged overconsumption, punctuated with plausible table conversation:
"I could not possibly eat one more iota, for I am replete." 
"Another mince pie, good sir? 
"Oh yes please, fine fellow".  
This gluttony of food brings also a liquid excess, happily for me this is what makes the season genuinely jolly.

Some recipes can be ready and delicious in 15minutes, for others a little more time is needed for the complexities of the recipe as a whole. Then there are some that takes over a week to make some of the most exquisite food imaginable. Salt beef is one of those - while it is always possible to buy the beef ready cured from some butchers and supermarkets, it never has the class of producing your own brine and curing what eventually becomes a delicious piece of meat.

This was a pre-christmas test run, so I used a smaller piece of meat and a smaller amount of brine, but this is a recipe that cries out to be mass-catered.

Beef brisket
For the brine:
300g Salt
200g Sugar
Orange rind
1tbsp Black pepper
1 stick Cinnamon
2 Star anise
1 tsp Cloves
2 garlic Garlic
1 tsp Cardamom pods
20 grams Prague Powder #1 (optional)

For Poaching:
1 Carrot
1 Onion
2 sticks of celery
half a head of garlic
Bunch of herbs (Thyme Rosemary, Oregano, Bay Leaves)

Bring together all of the brining ingredients in a pan with plenty of water about 1.5l. Bring to the boil in order to dissolve the salt and sugars. Add the Prague Powder now, this will help the meat to keep its colour. Allow to cool, and then pop the meat into a freezer bag and ladle the brine over the meat until completely submerged. Seal the bag, taking care to remove any air that may still be in the bag, and cover well - we used silver foil, and an extra bag for safety! When this is done place in the cellar or a cool place for 5-7 days, turning the bag over daily.

After the meat is ready, give it a light rinse to remove any excess brine. The next step is to poach the meat until it becomes tender, taking care not to boil it as the meat will toughen. Poach with a roughly chopped carrot, onions and celery, as well as a half a head of garlic and a bunch of fresh herbs.

Serve on bagels with plenty of pickles.

Ho ho ho!



This recipe has been featured on the Love Salt Beef website here.

Love Salt Beef is the perfect place for those of you who are into making, buying and more importantly eating salt beef.