Boiled Dinner, the Maine Way

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Appears in

Cold-Smoking & Salt-Curing Meat, Fish, & Game

Cold-Smoking & Salt-Curing Meat, Fish, & Game

By A D Livingston

Published 2010

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People in Maine have firm opinions and often back them up. Once, for example, the Maine legislature passed a law prohibiting the use of tomatoes in anything called clam chowder. Maine people also have opinions about corned beef. A book called Good Maine Food says that many families on the Maine coast corn their own beef, and “according to those Maine cooks whose reputations have gone farthest,” it is best made from the thick rib or from a piece of flank next to the loin instead of from the brisket. The meat is salted down, then immersed in a brine. Some people pickle the meat for as long as a month; others pickle it overnight.

After pickling, the meat is boiled until tender, about 2 hours. Then the meat is removed from the brine, drained, and chilled. It will be served cold. The brine is saved until time to cook the dinner. To prepare dinners, start a countdown for a 2-hour period. Bring the liquid from the corned beef pot to a boil. After ½ hour, scrape 2 carrots, cut them into pieces, and add them to the pot. After 1 hour, add 1 sliced turnip and 1 small green cabbage cut into as many pieces as there are persons to be served. After 1½ hours add 8 peeled potatoes, halved, and a sliced summer squash. At the end of 2 hours, remove all the vegetables. Put the cold corned beef on a platter and arrange the vegetables all around. Add 2 cups of sliced beets, which have been cooked separately so that they won’t discolor the other vegetables. Serve with tomato catsup or vinegar.