Friday, January 13, 2006

Corned Beef

It has been raining for close to month now here in Vancouver, daughter is hoping for a few more days to break the record but I could use a little sunshine and blue sky. Since I have no control over the weather I did the next best thing - comfort food.

In the grand pantheon of comfort food I suppose Pot Roast is King, closely followed by meatloaf, roast chicken and, in my mind, Corned Beef. I'm talking real "old school" corned beef brisket that has been properly brined by a good practitioner. Much to my delight my weekly search of Stong's website found Corned Beef on sale for $2.98 a pound, so Tuesday morning found me deep in the heart of Dunbar plucking a 2 1/2 pound piece of Corned Beef and scurrying home, after a pleasant chat with Stanley Q. Tuesday was a work night but Wednesday would be Comfort Food Night.

One of the things necessary, in my mind, to make a dish a "comfort food" is simplicity. Nothing could be easier than Corned Beef, once you have found a reliable supplier the cooking process is the essence of easy - just rinse off the brine and cover the beef in boiling water and simmer for about an hour per pound. That's it.

When I was a child my mom would add cabbage to the simmering beef water for the last while and serve corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes, the classic "Boiled Dinner". Times have changed and boiled cabbage and potatoes do not suit the palates' of wife or daughter so I compromise with mashed Yukon Gold spuds and broccoli in white cheddar sauce. Dinner was superb, with daughter scarfing down beef (au naturel) and broccoli with reckless abandon while wife and I add horseradish/mustard cream to our beef and consume with equal gusto.

Another prerequisite of "Comfort Food" is that leftovers must exist and be enjoyable. The 2 1/2 pound Corned beef left easily a pound of leftovers which have since been coupled with scrambled eggs and onions for breakfast as well as being thinly sliced for sandwiches.

Incidently the total cost of this meal was less than $12, including all condiments and saucing, which is less than it costs Cactus Club to produce 3 burgers, PLUS I had leftovers. Of course my purchasing power is a bit better than a multi-million dollar restaurant chain. Either that or the math in the recent Vancouver Magazine article is a little off (40%+ food cost?).

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