Nana Bev’s Corned Beef With White Onion Sauce Recipe


A tasty and economical meal – the meat is good as a hot meal with mashed potatoes and salad or garden vegetables. Very good Sunday lunch meal as can be prepared before church. If a large enough piece is prepared it gives sufficient leftovers to have cold meat with salad, or in sandwiches with mustard pickles during the week. Cold meat can also be sliced thickly, cut in fingers, battered and shallow fried as a breakfast food for the men. This dish is known as a dog in blankets and needs tomato sauce or hot sauce and buttered fresh bread. 

~ Nana Bev

Hey, Lovelies.

This is a very traditional and tasty meal. I got this particular recipe from the great-grandmother of a college student I shared a house with back in the day. Nana Bev was adamant that I write this recipe down. She had brought the meat and all the ingredients with her, along with an enormous boiler saucepan she came down to college with her great-grandson (his mum and dad came too) to settle him in to his accommodation, ready to start the university year. Step by step Nana Bev walked me through this recipe as she made it in front of me, because she was from the bush and I was from the city, I was the only female in the house at that stage, and obviously, I didn’t know much. How would I ever be marriageable material if I didn’t know how to cook up big feeds for the men?

Sadly, months later it was later determined by Nana Bev and her granddaughter (the mum of my housemate and whose name I forget) that I was entirely unsuitable to be a grazier’s wife. I was too opinionated, too modern, too much of an upstart, too ambitious, too much a feminist, and too much a bleeding heart. Oh well! At least I got some great recipes from Nana Bev, and the one thing she did approve of was my ability to turn out a good meal.
Sorry, my pictures for this meal aren’t much chop. We were too tired and hungry on the weekend to get arty. We just wanted to sit down with our neighbours and demolish dinner! I promise it tastes better than it looks. With Nana Bev’s twist, the meat is lusciously moist and flavoured with citrus, spice and earthy goodness. We totally smashed the white onion sauce. In fact it was hard to get a good picture of dinner because most people’s plates were covered in sauce so there was not much else to be seen. But that’s how we roll here at the treehouse – feed the people first, remember to take arty photos second.

Weirdly, the beverage we accompanied this meal with was a jug of homemade Strawberry Daiquiri. It worked!
Much love, and a little trip down memory lane, Nicole xx

PS – If you’re wondering what I ate for dinner last night after yesterday’s hopeful post it was not barbeque – it was Chinese!


Here’s our Corned Beef from Saturday night 😊💕…


Ingredients – Corned Beef

  • 1 piece 1.5 to 2kg corned (brined or pickled) silverside/beef (feel free to go bigger if you’re feeding a crowd)
  • 1 onion, quartered, skin still on if sound and no mold, otherwise skin removed down to clean layers
  • 2 carrots, cut into rings
  • 2 celery stalks and leaves, roughly cut into slices
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or vinegar of your choice)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons soft brown sugar or golden syrup

Method for Corned Beef

  1. Rinse your piece of corned beef under running water, and work out cook time based on weight. You need 30  minutes of cook time for each 500 grams of raw meat.
  2. Put beef into a large pot and cover with cold water so that are a few centimeters of water over the top of the submerged meat.
  3. Add in your chopped vegetables, orange, vinegar and spices.
  4. Bring pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for the required time. Then take the pot off the heat and allow the meat to rest for ten minutes. Remove from liquid and slice across the grain (or the meat will be stringy – see small stringy piece of meat at back of photo of meat slices – such different textures depending on how you slice it!).
  5. Serve with mashed potato, salad or your choice of steamed vegetables, and white onion sauce.

Ingredients – White Onion Sauce

  • 1 and 1/4 cups to 1 and 1/2 cups sliced onions (cut in half lengthways and then into thin slices) or thereabouts
  • 75g butter (5 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of butter if you can bother to be that precise)
  • 75g plain flour
  • 2 cups of milk of your choice plus half a cup extra just in case

Optional but good (Nana Bev’s ‘secret’ recipe)

  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard or to taste
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons grated tasty cheese, parmesan, pecorino or similar
  • Small pinch of salt and small pinch of brown sugar
  • Grated nutmeg to taste (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon or as you like it)

Method for White Onion Sauce

  1. Melt butter. Add sliced onions, reduce heat to low, mix well and then simmer, covered, for ten minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, cool slightly. Slowly add flour a little at a time, mixing well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Now add in the milk, slowly, beating well as you do to avoid lumps.
  4. When mixture is smooth return to heat and keep stirring until it thickens. If it becomes too thick add more milk or a little of the corned beef cooking water.
  5. If wanted, add the cheese, salt and sugar, and nutmeg.
  6. Serve over the cooked corned beef. Delicious!


The completed meal, ready to be demolished by hungry peoples

Hi! I'm Nicole Cody. I am a writer, psychic, metaphysical teacher and organic farmer. I love to read, cook, walk on the beach, dance in the rain and grow things. Sometimes, to entertain my cows, I dance in my gumboots. Gumboot dancing is very under-rated.
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