The recipe below comes out of celebrated South African chef Mariana Esterhuizen’s new cookbook, Mariana’s Country Kitchen.
Corned beef was one of the dishes that held centre stage on the table at Christmas time during Mariana's childhood, and it was always accompanied by a gravy boat brimming with mustard and sultana sauce.
This recipe focuses on how to make this very special sauce, which, in Mariana's eyes, is an essential addition to corned beef.
4T white Muscadel or Hanepoot dessert wine (optional)
4T whole-grain mustard
2T freshly squeezed lemon juice
300ml stock from the corned beef
2t lemon zest
salt to taste
The cooking time for corned beef depends on the weight of the cut and is calculated as follows: 30 minutes for every 500g meat plus 30 minutes extra.
Place the meat in a large saucepan. Add a few carrots, a peeled onion studded with cloves, and a few bay leaves and peppercorns. Cover the meat with water and boil gently until the meat is done. Strain the cooking liquid from the corned beef and use it as stock for the sauce. This stock may be salty, so taste the sauce before you add extra salt.
If you'd prefer to make a sauce without alcohol, you can replace the dessert wine with stock. Add a little honey or brown sugar to balance the flavours.
For the sauce:
Pour the dessert wine over the sultanas and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
Place the sultanas and wine, mustard, lemon juice and stock in a saucepan and boil without the lid to reduce the sauce until it starts to thicken.
Stir in the butter and lemon zest, and keep warm to serve with the corned beef.
Slice the meat and serve with the mustard and sultana sauce, a few roasted baby onions and a crisp cucumber salad.
MAKES 250ML SAUCE
The Mariana’s Country Kitchen recipe book is published by Human & Rousseau and can be bought for around R350.