Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reuben Eggrolls and an Apology

Guys! Hi! Thank you SO much for not giving up on me.  I know I've been totally MIA since that last, very intense post on homemade bacon… But I have something dare I say better (?) than plain old bacon.  I have for you REUBEN EGGROLLS.  That’s right!  But before we even get to reuben eggrolls we get to explore the fabulous world that is homemade corned beef.  And I have a promise… a promise that I will never abandon you for that long again (adam)!

The March Charcutepalooza challenge was brining which, I have to admit, I wasn't really excited about because I tend to brine a lot.  So… it didn't feel as special or as exciting as duck prosciutto or ahem, cured pork belly.  But anyway… I decided to just go for it since I'd never made corned beef before and I absolutely love it in any way shape or form.  Up next was the decision regarding whether or not to use the pink salt.  I went back and forth on this one.  I even bought the cure.  I know a lot of people feel comfortable using nitrites but I'm not quite one of them and after a nice twitterscussion (see what I did there??) with Dr. Winnie, I decided that   for me, no nitrites was best.  Enter the beets!

I didn't want to have ugly grey corned beef and I noticed that Wellshire Farms' corned beef is nitrite free and they use beet dye for coloring.  So I went to my favorite resource, the interwebs, and asked it how to make beet dye.  Turns out it's pretty easy… just cube some raw beets, cook them down a bit in boiling water, let them sit for a couple of hours and then pour that shockingly purple/red liquid right into the brine.  And five days later… here is what you have!

I know… does NOT look right.  But as it turns out, it's PERFECT after you cook it for 10 hours in a sous vide surpreme with a Guinness, blood orange and homemade mustard glaze.  And I mean perfect.
So here's what I did to get this little guy ready for the SVS.  I lactofermented mustard (I know!) and that turned out incredibly spicy and totally amazing.  In my next post I'll talk about my recent adventures in fermenting but I'm so in love with the process that I really think it deserves a post of its own.  Anywhoo, I combined that mustard with the juice of 2 blood oranges and a cup of Guinness and reduced it a bit on the stove top.

Then I poured it into the vacuum bag and added the rinsed corned beef to it.  Then I froze this as it can be a challenge to vacuum seal pouches with liquid in them and tossed it in the SVS for about 14 hours at 164 degrees F.  Then I took it out, gave it a quick pass under the broiler and sliced that baby up.   

I promise to never doubt the charcutepalooza goddesses again!  PROMISE.  As a bonus I had a bunch of extra blood oranges that are currently being preserved in a crapload of salt. 

Which leads me to the (clearly) more important part of this post… the aforementioned reuben eggrolls.  Another of my lactofermenting projects included red sauerkraut which was clearly just crying out to be made into a reuben.  I also had wonton wrappers conveniently in my fridge.  In a (rare) stroke of genius I combined them into the most glorious deep fried package to ever cross my lips.   

I layered some of the homemade mustard, swiss cheese, leftover corned beef and sauerkraut into the wonton skins and popped them into the deep fryer.   

This was really great… so so delicious.  The best part about it was the way the slight bitterness and acidity cut through the richness of this tasty little package. 

So guys, again… apologies for the delay in posting but I have some good (meaty AND nonmeaty) ones lined up for you! And I will never abandon you like that again!