Dill Cured Salmon / Dillgravad Lax

A classic Swedish starter recipe found on koket.nu
Dill Cured Salmon / Dillgravad Lax

Curing salmon and trout with dill is a Swedish speciality. It adds
a delightful freshness to the finished dish.

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Port Wine Cured Lamb Fillet / Portvinsgravet Lammefilet

A traditional recipe from Northern Norway found on Aperitif.no
Port Wine Cured Lamb Fillet / Portvinsgravet Lammefilet

History: This recipe is originally from the Northern part of Norway and is found in many a grandmother’s handwritten cookbook. The recipe can be traced to the early nineteenth century, but it is not unlikely that it is even older.

The traditional accompaniments were flat bread and sour cream, and the fillet was placed in the basement for maturing as there were not many fridges to find in those days. Lofoten was famously for its close relations with the continent in connection with exports of stockfish and dried fish, and therefore had access to some nobler ingredients, such as port wine.

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The Christmas Recipes – Part 7

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Danish Cardinal Punch / Dansk Kardinalpunch
Danish Cardinal Punch / Dansk Kardinalpunch

Grapefruit In Brandy / Grapefrukt I Konjakk
Grapefruit In Brandy / Grapefrukt I Konjakk

Cured Beef / Gravet Oksekjøtt
Cured Beef / Gravet Oksekjøtt

The History of Corned Beef

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Although the exact beginnings of corned beef are unknown, it most likely came about when people began preserving meat through salt-curing. Evidence of its legacy is apparent in numerous cultures, including Ancient Europe and the Middle East. The word corn derives from Old English, and is used to describe any small, hard particles or grains. In the case of “corned beef”, the word may refer to the coarse granular salts used to cure the beef. The word corned may also refer to the corns of potassium nitrate, also known as saltpeter, which were formerly used to preserve the meat.

19th-century Atlantic trade

corned beef_002Although the practice of curing beef was found locally in many cultures, the industrial production of corned beef started in the British Industrial Revolution. Irish corned beef was used and traded extensively from the 17th century to the mid-19th century for British civilian consumption and as provisions for the British naval fleets and North American armies due to its non-perishable nature. The product was also traded to the French for use in Caribbean sugar plantations as sustenance for the colonists and the slave laborers.

corned beef_005The 17th-century British industrial processes for corned beef did not distinguish between different cuts of beef beyond the tough and undesirable parts such as the beef necks and shanks. Rather, the grading was done by the weight of the cattle into “small beef”, “cargo beef”, and “best mess beef”, the former being the worst and the latter the best. Much of the undesirable portions and lower grades were traded to the French, while better parts were saved for British consumption or shipped to British colonies.

corned beef_003Ireland produced a significant amount of the corned beef in the Atlantic trade from local cattle and salt imported from the Iberian Peninsula and southwestern France. Coastal cities, such as Dublin, Belfast, and Cork, created vast beef curing and packing industries, with Cork producing half of Ireland’s annual beef exports in 1668. Although the production and trade of corned beef as a commodity was a source of great wealth for the colonial nations of Britain and France (who were participating in the Atlantic slave trade), in the colonies themselves the product was looked upon with disdain due to its association with poverty and slavery.

Increasing corned beef production to satisfy the rising populations of the industrialised areas of Great Britain and Atlantic trade worsened the effects of the Irish Famine and the Great Potato Famine:

The Celtic grazing lands of…Ireland had been used to pasture cows for centuries. The British colonized…the Irish, transforming much of their countryside into an extended grazing land to raise cattle for a hungry consumer market at home…The British taste for beef had a devastating impact on the impoverished and disenfranchised people of…Ireland. Pushed off the best pasture land and forced to farm smaller plots of marginal land, the Irish turned to the potato, a crop that could be grown abundantly in less favorable soil. Eventually, cows took over much of Ireland, leaving the native population virtually dependent on the potato for survival.

— Jeremy Rifkin, Beyond Beef

corned beef_004Despite being a major producer of beef, most of the people of Ireland during this period consumed little of the meat produced, in either fresh or salted form, due to its prohibitive cost. This was because most of the farms and its produce were owned by wealthy Anglo-Irish landlords and that most of the population were from families of poor tenant farmers, and that most of the corned beef was exported.

The lack of beef or corned beef in the Irish diet is especially true in Northern Ireland and areas away from the major centres for corned beef production. However, individuals living in these production centres such as Cork did consume the product to a certain extent. The majority of Irish that resided in Ireland at the time mainly consumed dairy products and meats such as pork or salt pork, bacon and cabbage being a notable example of a traditional Irish meal.
20th century to present

corned beef_007Although it ceased to be an important commodity in the 20th century Atlantic trade due in part to the abolition of slavery, corned beef production and its canned form remained important as a food source during World War II. Much of the canned corned beef came from Fray Bentos in Uruguay, with over 16 million cans exported in 1943. Even now, significant amounts of the global canned corned beef supply comes from South America. Today, around 80% of the global tinned corned beef supply originates from Brazil.

Cultural associations

corned beef_008In North America corned beef dishes are associated with traditional Irish cuisine. However, there is considerable debate about the association of corned beef with Ireland. Mark Kurlansky, in his book Salt, states that the Irish produced a salted beef around the Middle Ages that was the “forerunner of what today is known as Irish corned beef” and in the 17th century the English named the Irish salted beef “corned beef”. Some say it was not until the wave of 18th century Irish immigration to the United States that much of the ethnic Irish first began to consume corned beef dishes as seen today. The popularity of corned beef compared to bacon among the immigrant Irish may have been due to corned beef being considered a luxury product in their native land, while it was cheaply and readily available in America.

In Ireland today, the serving of corned beef is geared toward tourist consumption and most Irish in Ireland do not identify the ingredient as native cuisine.

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The Jewish population produced similar Salt-cured meat product made from beef brisket which the Irish immigrants purchased as corned beef from Jewish butchers. This may have been facilitated by the close cultural interactions and collaboration of these two diverse cultures in the USA’s main 19th and 20th century immigrant port of entry, New York City.

Canned corned beef has long become one of the standard meals included in military field ration packs around the world, due to its simplicity and instant preparation in such rations. One example is the American Meal, Ready-to-Eat pack.

The History of Bacon

000_bacon_01Bacon or “bacoun” was a Middle English term used to refer to all pork in general. The term bacon comes from various Germanic and French dialects. It derives from the French bako, Old High German bakko, and Old Teutonic backe, all of which refer to the back. There are breeds of pigs particularly raised for bacon, notably the Yorkshire and Tamworth.

The phrase “bring home the bacon” comes from the 12th century when a church in Dunmow, England offered a side of bacon to any man who could swear before God and the congregation that he had not fought or quarreled with his wife for a year and a day. Any man that could “bring home the bacon” was highly respected in his community.

Bacon Throughout History

000_bacon_06Roman Era: According to food historians, the Romans ate a type of bacon which they called petaso, which was essentially domesticated pig meat boiled with figs, then browned and seasoned with pepper sauce.

1600’s: Bacon, a relatively easy to produce and cheap meat source, becomes a staple for European peasants. Smoked Bacon is considered the highest quality.

1770’s: John Harris, an Englishman, is credited as the forefather of large scale industrial bacon manufacturing. He opened his company in Wiltshire, still considered the bacon capital of the world.

000_bacon_041924: Oscar Mayer introduces pre-packaged, pre-sliced bacon to America.

1990’s: Ordinary bacon is no longer enough to satisfy bacon lovers. Many varieties of bacon spin-offs appear, including Chicken-Fried Bacon and Bacone

21st century: Bacon has become super popular, with mebsites, blogs, a Wikia (Hey! look at me!), t-shirts and a plethora of products all appreciating the goodness that is Bacon.

Bacon Trivia

  • Bacon is one of the oldest cuts of meat in history; dating back to 1500 BC.
  • In the 16th Century, European peasants would proudly display the small amount of bacon they could afford.
  • The Yorkshire and Tamworth pigs are bred specifically for bacon.
  • 70% of all bacon in the US is eaten at breakfast time.
  • More than 2 billion pounds of bacon is produced each year in the US.
  • Until the first world war, bacon fat was the cooking fat of choice in most US households, when prepackaged pig lard became commonly available.

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Bacon is a meat product prepared from a pig and usually cured. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in a dry packing; the result is fresh bacon (also known as green bacon). Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months in cold air, or it may be boiled or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon is typically cooked before eating, often by frying. Boiled bacon is ready to eat, as is some smoked bacon, but may be cooked further before eating.

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Bacon is prepared from several different cuts of meat. It is usually made from side and back cuts of pork, except in the United States and Canada, where it is most commonly prepared from pork belly (typically 000_bacon_05referred to as “streaky”, “fatty”, or “American style” outside of the US and Canada). The side cut has more meat and less fat than the belly. Bacon may be prepared from either of two distinct back cuts: fatback, which is almost pure fat, and pork loin, which is very lean. Bacon-cured pork loin is known as back bacon.

Bacon may be eaten smoked, boiled, fried, baked, or grilled and eaten on its own, as a side dish (particularly in breakfasts in North America) or used as a minor ingredient to flavour dishes (e.g., the Club sandwich). Bacon is also used for barding and larding roasts, especially game, including venison and pheasant. The word is derived from the Old High German bacho, meaning “buttock”, “ham” or “side of bacon”, and cognate with the Old French bacon.

000_bacon_02In contrast to the practice in the United States, in continental Europe these cuts of the pig are usually not smoked, but are instead used primarily in cubes (lardons) as a cooking ingredient, valued both as a source of fat and for its flavour. In Italy, this product is called pancetta and is usually cooked in small cubes or thinly sliced as part of anantipasto.

Meat from other animals, such as beef, lamb, chicken, goat, or turkey, may also be cut, cured, or otherwise prepared to resemble bacon, and may even be referred to as “bacon”. Such use is common in areas with significant Jewish and Muslim populations, both of which prohibit the consumption of pigs. The USDA defines bacon as “the cured belly of a swine carcass”; other cuts and characteristics must 000_bacon_03be separately qualified (e.g., “smoked pork loin bacon”). For safety, bacon may be treated to preventtrichinosis, caused by Trichinella, a parasitic roundworm which can be destroyed by heating, freezing, drying, or smoking.

Bacon is distinguished from salt pork and ham by differences in the brine (or dry packing). Bacon brine has added curing ingredients, most notably sodium nitrite, and occasionally potassium nitrate (saltpeter); sodium ascorbate or erythorbate are added to accelerate curing and stabilise colour. Flavourings such as brown sugar or maple are used for some products. Sodium polyphosphates, such as sodium triphosphate, may be added to make the produce easier to slice and to reduce spattering when the bacon is pan-fried. Today, a brine for ham, but not bacon, includes a large amount of sugar. Historically, “ham” and “bacon” referred to different cuts of meat that were brined or packed identically, often together in the same barrel.

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Bacon Butty – The King of Comfort Food

Text from Wikipedia

Earl Grey Cured Salmon with Hollandaise / Earl Grey Gravet Laks med Hollandaise

A new take on the gravlax found on goodhousekeeping.co.ukEarl grey cured salmon with hollandaise_goodhousekeeping_post

The floral flavours of Earl Grey tea work wonders with the richness of the salmon. Pressing it under a weight firms up the fish, making slicing easy.

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Gravlax / Gravet Laks

A traditional Scandinavian lunch/starter  from “Sommermat”
(Summer Food) published by
Hjemmets Kokebok Klubb in 1979

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Remember that in in addition to salmon, you can cure halibut, trout, mackerel, herring and other types of fish too.

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Cured Beef / Gravet Oksekjøtt

A traditional curing recipe found on grytelokket.com112_gravet oksekjøtt_post

In the old days, curing  meat was a virtue of necessity, while it is today generally considered a delicacy. Many believe that curing meat is difficult, but it is actually a much easier process than most imagine. With this recipe for cured sirloin of beef and mustard sauce you can try for yourself.

My brother in law, a very skilled cook, makes a wicked cured beef for Christmas every year and serves it with cherry tomatoes, fresh dill and horseradish sauce. For me it is one of the absolute culinary highlights of Christmas season.

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See this and lots of other delicious recipes on:
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Port Wine Cured Veal Fillet / Portvinsgravet Kalvefilet

A traditional Norwegian appetizer found on dinmat.no

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Veal and port; can’t fail. Quick and easy to make and the perfect appetizer for an autumn dinner with friends!

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