Not Corned Beef, Corned Pork

This is an experiment, and with the price of beef there is no way I am doing an experiment on a beef roast!  So I’m testing it on this boneless pork rib roast:

I’ve halved the amounts of normal brine recipes I found, and added the seasonings I wanted.


  • 5 cups water
  • 3/4 cups kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves smashed garlic
  • 1 tsp dehydrated ginger 

Palmfuls, or whatever amount you fancy of:

  • Peppercorns
  • Brown and yellow mustard seed
  • Corriander seed
  • Celery ceed
  • 4 all spice berries
  • 8 or so cloves

Add water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, dump in about 6 ice cubes from freezer, then cool.

After the brine was cooked it definitely smelled like pastrami in the kitchen.

Pour the brine over the meat in a ziploc bag, seal, place in container to avoid leaks, and leave in the fridge for 5 to 7 days.  I read somewhere that rather than using the chemical additive that gives the bright pink colour on corned beef (sodium nitrite I think) you can use beet juice.

I don’t terribly care if the meat is pink or grey if it tastes good, but I just made cranberry concentrate from a bunch of frozen cranberries, so I threw 1/4 cup or so in with the brine.

My brine was already a golden colour from the onion skins, so this is the colour I ended up with.  I threw out about 1 1/2 or so cups of the brine that I didn’t need to cover the roast.

Updates to follow…..


Sweet Potato Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Based on this recipe from The Kitchn.

  • 5 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and pricked all over with fork
  • 1 cup small black (beluga) lentils (or what you have on hand)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked steel cut oats
  • 1 tsp minced basil and sage leaves
  • 3 inch piece seaweed (supposed to add minerals and help digestibility of lentils)
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp. vegetable broth powder
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable stock with a few dashes of worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pepper to taste

Roast potatoes at 400’F for about an hour, until very soft. Set them aside and let cool while you prepare the lentil filling.

In a medium pot combine lentils, oats, herbs, seaweed and smashed garlic clove.

Add water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 – 25 minutes uncovered until lentils are done, but still a bit firm.  Drain the mixture in a fine sieve in the sink, so you are left with a “ground meat” like texture. I think with other seasonings this could be a really good “vegetarian” ground meat for most purposes, like tortiere, taco filling, chili, etc. Much cheaper than “vegan meat crumbles” and I’m not scared to eat it.
While the lentil filling is cooking, saute the mushrooms until browned in the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until desired tenderness. Add tomatoe paste, cook for a minute or so, then pour in the veg stock, tamari, and smoked paprika (or any other seasonings you want).
Stir the drained lentil filling into the pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until quite thick. Remove from heat while you finish the potatoes.
Peel off the skin from the cooled potatoes, then mash or puree with an immersion blender until desired consistency. This reminded me never to boil sweet potatoes again. The mash from roasted was super sweet and tasty and didn’t need salt(even for me) or seasonings at all.
You could use a 9X9 pan for a deep pie, or 9X13 pan. Oil the dish, then spread in the lentil filling, top with the sweet potatoe, and bake in a 350’F oven for 30 minutes until bubbling.

You can assemble and refrigerate or freeze the pie for later. Allow frozen pie to thaw overnight in fridge, or bake for about an hour from frozen. You could also freeze the component parts, or use smaller individual serving sizes.