Curing Expat Cravings

I've been here 1 year, 11 months and 1 week and aside from family, friends and my independence, I really miss just a few food items.  One of those is corned beef.  And not just corned beef for a sandwich.  I've been craving corned beef hash and a poached egg for breakfast.  My father and my sister like making this for breakfast on the weekend so I've had occasion to eat it in the past couple of years, but I want the ability to make it for myself.

 

Cured (Corned) Beef

Easy enough, right?  I can find pastrami at the deli counter in one of the supermarkets in town, but corned beef is elusive.  I would have thought where there's pastrami, there's corned beef but not so much. 

Weighing down the beef to keep it under the brine

So I took matters into my own hands.  The first thing I needed to do was source pink (curing) salt -- not that fancy dancy Himalayan salt we see in the markets in the US now, but sodium nitrate.  The kind that's needed to cure meat to keep it safe for eating.

I headed to Amazon.com and ordered a bag and waited.  Salt in hand it was time to find a brisket.  Not so fast, corned beef lovers.  I used my handy-dandy iTranslate to confirm that the cut is called Falda here.  With that information, I headed to my nearest Price Smart (Costco) on Sunday and searched the meat counter.  Nothing.  I was not too disappointed, because the cash register system was down and the lines were out of control.

Finished Hash

Next stop, Los Andes Supermarket.  Voilá!  Packages of Falda.  Yeah, not really.  When I got it home and unpacked it, I saw two flank steak looking cuts of beef -- thin and kind of lean.  That's ok, the package of curing salt is large and while I can find pork belly here, there's only so much bacon I need to be curing.

Skillet of Corned Beef Hash in the Making

I used Elise Bauer's recipe from her SimplyRecipes blog and as expected, it came out just perfect! even though it wasn't quite the cut of beef I needed. 

And while I may not have learned all I need to know about shooting "brown foods," breakfast was scrumptious!  I loved it and it cured that craving.  Now, what to do with the rest of the corned beef?

Poached Egg and Corned Beef Hash

Looks like I am going to need to learn how to make a good loaf of rye bread.