Award winning Northern Irish butcher Pat O’Doherty has chronicled the history of corned beef in a novel cookbook about how best to incorporate the meat in contemporary meals. The aim of the book is to “demonstrate the vast potential of this forgotten beef product”.
O’Doherty, the owner of O’Doherty’s Fine Meats in Enniskillen in County Fermanagh and the pioneer of dry-cured Black Bacon, traces the history of corned beef back more than 600 years.
He’s used the knowledge of ancient recipes to create his unique and highly acclaimed Old Fermanagh Corned Beef that’s now sold throughout Europe by the company.
A study of ancient records has led O’Doherty to report that the first reference in Ireland to corned beef was during the 12th century in a poem, the Vision of MacConglinne, in which salted or corned beef is described as a delicacy used to purge ‘the demon of gluttony’. Corned beef has become an essential part of Irish culture,’ he says.
O’Doherty finds that beef was even cured in part of Ireland using burnt seaweed that was massaged into the fresh meat and then left to cover it for long periods.
“It was the vast requirement for corned beef in England that spurred the increased production of it in Ireland,” he writes. Corned beef from Ireland was subsequently found on vessels in the Caribbean involved in the slave trade.
“Corned beef recipes found in the Caribbean most certainly originated in Ireland and have not only been modified over the last few hundred years but have now evolved into a local Caribbean corned beef reflecting herbs and spices found around the islands.”
Corned beef, he says, is “simply fresh beef which has been treated with salts, herbs and spices to extend its shelf life and create excellent tasting beef”. Corned beef was produced either by immersing in a bath of local herds and spices such as juniper and elderflower berries or using dry rub techniques.
The Napoleonic Wars led to a revolution in corned beef in terms of canning in response to a request from Napoleon Bonaparte for a method of carrying beef over long distances. The first canning factory was established in Britain in 1813.
“The funny thing is that it was 30 more years until the tin opener was invested, which leads to some interesting thoughts on how they opened cans,” he writes. This meant they were forced to convert their swords into tin openers!
He argues that corned beef can give new dimensions to many dishes and, with a little thought, new exciting meal ideals cam be created. “The tremendous variety of ancient corned beef methods and products creates a wonderful opportunity for today’s chefs and cooks to embrace.
O’Doherty has drawn on the expertise of Liz Moore, a leading Northern Irish chef and the team at the region’s oldest cookery school, Belle Isle, near Fermanagh to help develop innovative meal ideas involving corned beef.
Recipes detailed in the cookbook included how to use corned beef in joints, steaks, diced beef, dry aged corned beef, sausages, hot pot and even soup.
Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
Source: newsroom - meattradenewsdaily.co.uk
Back to News Headlines