A New England Boiled Dinner, aka Boiled Dinner, is the greatest two-fer meals known to personkind. Not only do you get the delights of the corned beef, and the boiled veggies cooked in a beef stock that’s rich and deluxe because it was used to cook the beef; but you also get a final stock which you can freeze and use for risottos, soups and casseroles. That stock is even more enriched, from both the beef and the vegetables that are cooked in it.
So New England Boiled Dinners are two-fer meals: two dishes (the meal and the stock) for the price of one. And that gladdens my thrifty little heart.
The secret to ensuring you have edible corned beef/silverside as well as stock you can use after the fact, is you need to change the water. So there are two phases to cooking the beef:
- A cook that removes the excess salt from the beef
- The cook that imbues flavours and actually cooks the beef
The vegetables are also added in stages, to account for their different cooking times.
- Corned Beef/Corned Silverside (usually comes in 1.5kg portions)
- Herbs and Spices to infuse into the beef:
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cloves
- 10 pepper corns
- 4 juniper berries (if you use these, you will want to use your stock for recipes including mushrooms as the berries can be strong)
- Vegetables for Boiled Dinner
- Baby Potatoes
- Pickling sized onions, peeled
- Cabbage Wedges / Brussels Sprouts (cut a cross into the head of the sprout to help it cook faster)
- Baby Carrots
- Turnips, sliced into 2cm batons
- Yellow Squash, sliced into 0.5cm pieces
- For the parsley mustard white sauce
- 1 tbsp arrowroot (tapicoa flour) if you want it gluten free / 1 tbsp flour if you don’t need to be gf
- 1 tbps butter
- 1-2 tsp Keens Mustard Powder
- 3 tbsp flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 1-2 cups milk
First cook to remove the salt: Get a casserole pan or saucepan that will allow you to fit your piece of silverside in and cover it with water. Pop it on a medium heat, and bring it to the boil. Turn the piece of beef every 7 minutes to ensure each side of the meat is covered with water, to ensure the excess brine is completely washed off.
When the water comes to a boil, take the meat out and rest it (I usually use a large colander over the sink, to ensure all the first cooking water is washed off). Discard the water.
Rinse out and clean the pan, as there can be a scum built up on the sides and base. You want to remove this.
Second cook: pop the silverside back in the pan, and cover with water again. Pop onto the stove at a medium-low heat. Add the cloves, bay leaves and peppercorns (and juniper berries if using) to the pan.
Cover pan, and cook for 2-2.5 hours or until meat is fork tender. If you are running behind you can start adding vegetables at the 2 hour mark, but you will need a pan big enough to allow that.
Remove the meat, and start cooking the vegetables: remove the meat, and rest it on a carving board. Ensure it is covered: I usually cover in foil, and then pop a large salad bowl over it.
Turn the heat on the saucepan up to medium high, and add the baby potatoes.
Cook for 5 minutes, then add your onions, carrots and turnip. At about this time, you’ll start making the parsley mustard white sauce.
Cook for 10 minutes, then add your cabbage wedges or brussels sprouts. Cook for 5 minutes longer, then add your slices of yellow squash. Cook for 5-10 minutes longer, then your potatoes should be fork tender. If the potatoes are ready, then everything else is ready.
Turn off the heat, you can leave the veggies in the stock until you are ready to serve.
Making the parsley mustard white sauce: pop the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, and stir with a wooden spoon to melt it. Add in your tbsp of arrowroot/flour and stir to combine well. Cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly.
Start adding your milk gradually, 1/2 cup at a time. At this point, it’s best to switch to a whisk for stirring to ensure there are no lumps. As the sauce gets thicker, add another 1/2 cup of milk and whisk to combine. At this point, add your mustard powder. Keep on adding your milk: it should take about 15 minutes to finish it. As soon as it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, take off the heat and stir in the parsley.
Serving: Uncover your corned beef, and carve it against the grain. It can be hard to tell the grain on these pieces of beef: carve parallel to the shortest side of the beef. Slices should be 0.5cm thick. Once you’ve carved enough, the carving board can be popped on the table for people serve themselves.
Use a slotted spoon or skimmer ladle or frying spoon to fish out your veggies from the stock, and place them on a platter for the table to help themselves.
I go a bit rustic with the parsley mustard sauce, in my house you serve yourself from the sauce pan, but if you are fancy and you have a sauce boat you can pour it off into that for the table to help themselves.
Leave the stock in the large saucepan to cool, then you can ladle it into containers and freeze it for use another day!
Meanwhile, you get to enjoy a dinner that keeps on giving! Et voila: