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What is Jellied Corned Beef?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Jellied corned beef is a specialty dish which is made from corned beef which is mixed with gelatin and poured into a loaf mold. The unmolded loaf may be set out with cold cuts and other dishes at a buffet, and it can also be cut into slices for sandwiches. A number of regional variations on this recipe exist, and this meat dish is one of a larger family of dishes made from various meats and vegetables formed into blocks with the assistance of gelatin.

To make jellied corned beef, cooks first need corned beef, a cut of beef which is pickled in brine and then cooked slowly to tenderize it and bring out the flavor of the brine. Corned beef is closely associated with Ireland for many people, thanks to corned beef and cabbage, and it can also be served shredded as corned beef hash, or sliced into wedges on sandwiches and in other dishes. The advantage to corned beef, like other cured meats, is that when cured properly, it can keep for an extended period of time, and sometimes even at room temperature.

The corned beef used in jellied corned beef is cooked and then shredded. If cooks want to use shredded vegetables as well, they are mixed in with the beef, along with spices and herbs of choice. The cook dissolves gelatin in cold water before adding it to beef stock which is kept at a simmer; the beef and vegetables are mixed in with the stock and then poured into an oiled mold, which is refrigerated to encourage the gelatin to set.

The end result is a solid loaf which is sometimes called a jellied beef loaf or simply jellied beef. The loaf is typically served with horseradish, relish, and other ingredients to spice it up, and it is designed to be consumed cold. Jellied corned beef is sometimes set out with an assortment of other jellied dishes and molded meats at a buffet, and it sometimes appears as a cold course at a more formal meal.

The flavor and texture of jellied corn beef is not to everyone's taste. You should also be aware that some gelatin will start to lose its bonds if it gets warm, which means that a loaf of jellied corned beef might start to sag if left in a warm spot for too long, and an unsightly pool of gelatin could potentially form. As a general rule, jellied corned beef and other jellied foods should be kept under refrigeration up to the point that they are to be served, and they should be chilled again promptly after people have helped themselves. This prevents gelatin disasters and foodborne illness.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By SteamLouis — On Jul 11, 2014

@fBoyle-- I agree with you. Some people love jellied corned beef and others won't even touch it.

I was actually surprised to find out that corned beef is a rather popular food item in some Pacific countries. I'm not sure when exactly corned beef made it to people's tables there, but they have a variety of creative recipes to make jellied corned beef a delicious meal.

My friend is from the Bahamas and she makes a very good spicy meal from corned beef. The fanciest thing I can make with jellied corned beef is sandwiches with lots of veggies and condiments.

By fBoyle — On Jul 10, 2014

@discographer-- I think jellied corned beef is something that someone either hates or loves. I haven't met anyone who felt indifferent about jellied corned beef.

Jellied corned beef was actually a convenience food that was consumed a lot decades ago. But now that there are more options and meat is not very expensive, most people don't reach for jellied corned beef. Not unless they are on a very tight budget or actually like it and want to eat it.

Of course, how the jellied corned beef is prepared is important too. It tastes much better in some recipes than others.

By discographer — On Jul 10, 2014

My family eats jellied corned beef a lot. I tried it but never liked it so I usually avoid family meals if I see jellied corned beef on the counter. I just don't like the taste, it's not for me.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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