Corned beef with mustard and brown sugar glaze & Kalam and Lubia Polo
Once again, the two grandmothers took their seats at our Rosh Hashanah table this year through the food my family has come to expect as the Jewish new year festive meal.
I serve my mother-in-law, Florence’s corned-beef with brown sugar and mustard, and my mother, Ruhi’s Persian rice with cabbage, dill, and black-eyed peas every Rosh Hashanah eve.
Florence passed away during the summer of 2014.
My mother had a solitary dinner in Israel during this time of a ravaging pandemic. We missed them both, yet, we all felt their presence, and we remembered them for the many ways they have nourished our bodies and souls.
We were lucky that our safe circle included our children and their families. This has been a year of isolation and loss for so very many people around the world.
We are thankful that our grandchildren had a chance to feel their great-grandmothers' love through their foods: one Ashkenazi, one Mizrahi.
Florence’s corned beef
6 lbs first-cut corned beef, trimmed of all fat
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C dijon mustard (not yellow mustard)
Put the corned beef in a large pot. You may cut it in half if it doesn’t fit.
Pour enough water over the corned beef to submerge it completely. Cover the pot.
Bring the water to boil and then reduce the heat, allowing it to simmer for about 3 hours.
Check the pot periodically and add more hot water if the meat is not submerged.
Check the meat for tenderness after two hours with a fork and again every 1/2 hour.
Let the pot cool off in the refrigerator overnight.
The day after, pull the meat out of the liquid and slice it thin against its grain.
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and mustard and spread it evenly over the cut corned beef.
Put the meat in a preheated oven, 350 F, for about 20 minutes before serving.
My mother-in-law used to decorate the meat with sliced canned pineapple, inserting a maraschino cherry in the middle of each pineapple slice. She also added a bit of the pineapple juice to the bottom of the dish before warming up the meat. I have eliminated that step.
Ruhi’s Kalam and Lubia Polo
4 C long-grain basmati rice
12 C water
1/4 C canola oil
4 t turmeric
6 T salt
This is a recipe for steamed Persian rice or chello.
Wash the rice in cold water 4-5 times
Cover the rice with warm water and 1 T kosher salt and let it soak for about 1 hour
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Choose a pot with a heavy bottom.
Add the rice and 3 T salt and boil for about 3-5 minutes. Basmati rice is temperamental, and it cooks differently depending on its origin. You must watch it carefully and taste it every minute. Once it is al dente, drain the rice in a colander.
Put the same pot back on the stove, add 1/4 C canola oil (definitely not olive oil) and turmeric.
Take out 2 T of the mixture, and, in a small cup, mix it with two T of warm water or chicken soup. Set aside.
Add the rice and shaped it gently into a cone, and, with the handle of a wooden spoon, create a hole at its center.
Sprinkle the reserved oil/water/turmeric mixture over the rice. Cover tightly and steam on low heat for about 45 min. You should be able to hear a sizzling sound from the bottom of the pot, which means the rice at the bottom of the pot is forming a crunchy crust. In Persian, this is called tadig.
Tadig/bottom of the pot
Gently, transfer most of the rice from the pot onto a platter and fluff it. Run cold water on the outside of the pot to cool off the bottom of the pot. Run a metal spatula around the parameter of the tadig to separate it from the pot. Cover the top of the pot with a large plate and quickly invert it to transfer the tadig whole onto the plate. Don't worry if it breaks. It will taste great anyway.
Kalam and Lubia/Cabbage and bean mixture
1 med head cabbage, cut into small ribbons
1 can black-eyed peas, drained
I bunch dill, chopped
I large onion slices thin
Saute sliced onions with 1 T oil and 1 t turmeric. Add the cabbage and cover until wilted, stir a few times. Add the beans, chopped dill, 2 T salt, and 2T coarse black pepper.
Spread 1/2 of the cabbage mixture on top of the rice. Serve the rest separately as a side dish.
There are different methods of making polo, rice mixed with other ingredients, such as herbs, vegetables, or fruit. You may make chello (plain rice) and mix it later with other ingredients.
Or, you may layer the added ingredients with the plain rice before steaming it.
Serve with Florence’s corned beef. Enjoy!