Classic corned beef sandwich

Corned beef.
Corned beef. Photo: Marina Oliphant

The term "corned" is an old one referring to the curing of beef with grains of salt, once called corns of salt. Corned beef is the English equivalent of the French pot-au-feu. The English meat has been salted, so one has to be very careful about using the broth as it may be too salty. But the broth or bouillon in the French pot-au-feu is part of its glory and is sometimes served separately as a first course.


1.5kg corned or pickled silverside (or corned or pickled girello)

6 cloves

2 onions, unpeeled

1 carrot, roughly chopped

1 stick celery, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 bay leaves


Select a deep enamelled cast-iron casserole with room for meat and vegetables. Put meat into pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then drain.

Return meat to rinsed-out pot.

Push three cloves into each onion. Add onions, chopped carrot and celery, peppercorns and bay leaves to pot. Barely cover with water and bring to a boil, then adjust heat to a steady simmer and cook for about 2 1/2 hours with lid slightly ajar until a skewer slips easily through the beef. Allow to cool a little in broth.

Slice meat thickly and sandwich with buttered rye bread lightly spread with mustard. Put extra mustard and dill pickles in reach of the sandwich eater.