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What comes to mind when you think of hash?
No, this post isn’t about hashish but of course that’s the first thing that came to YOUR minds. Buncha damn hippies! I’m talking about the food item hash. Does it conjure up images of that canned crap that Hormel makes and that you can buy right off the shelf?
You know the kind, right? Could easily be substituted for dog food yet you may still find oddly tasty in a “Oh shit I feel sleazy as fuck when I eat this but goddamn it’s pretty tasty” kind of way? I can actually eat this with a couple of fried eggs on top and put up little resistance. To be honest though, it settles in your stomach like a goddamn catcher’s mitt,
Or does the term hash bring to mind that incredibly delicious diner food with the fresh ingredients and the eggs on top and a side of toast and oh fuck why didn’t I order that instead of this shitty omelet?
That’s the hash I’m talking about here. Look at that banner picture again. Isn’t that just sexy as fuck? Did it produce a Pavlovian drooling response? Yeah, that’s the shit right there.
You really don’t hear or read much about making hash at home even though I’m sure many folks make it. I think that goes back to the preconceived notion that it’s not a sexy food dish. Maybe it makes you feel like you’re slumming it a little. I think a lot of that goes back to the maybe derogatory term “hash house” for a sleazy diner where your more likely to pick up e-coli poisoning as get a decent meal.
Well “Bullshit!” I say. We are going to change that perception today. I am going to show that hash can be a glorious meal that you can brag about to friends and family. A wondrous dish you would proudly serve to the Queen of England if she decided to stop by for breakfast. I am going to make you think of the word “hash” and you will immediately start thinking like Jules in Pulp Fiction that “This is some serious gourmet shit!” I am also going to show you another French cooking technique that will make the process easier and will definitely ramp up your skills to a crazy level.
This is the second of a series of posts where I use something that was purchased earlier, prepared as a primary meal but the real intention was to use it as a secondary meal. Remember the turkey enchilada post from a few weeks back where I made a turkey dinner, froze the leftover turkey and turned it into enchiladas but the real intent wasn’t the turkey dinner it was the enchiladas? Yeah that’s what I’m rambling on about. Back in March just after St. Patrick’s Day I did a post about the American/Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage and when I purchased the corned beef for that dinner I got an extra one to throw in the freezer that was going to be made into hash at a later date. When I served that dinner of course the audience said “Yeah this is great but when are we having corned beef hash?”
Today. Today we are having corned beef hash. And yes, it is yet again a 2 day prep type deal.
To do this the right way we are going to bake the corned beef in the oven at 325 for about 3 1/2 hours. We are doing this on the Saturday prior to the Sunday when we make the hash.
You will need:
1 package of corned beef with the seasoning packet.
Some course ground mustard.
And that’s it.
Preheat the oven, rinse down the corned beef because this can be really salty otherwise. Pat dry and rub some of the mustard all over the corned beef. Sprinkle the contents of the seasoning packet over the meat, wrap in foil, place in a baking dish and cook for the allotted time.
When it’s finished unwrap the top flap of the foil and let cool for maybe 15-20 minutes. It should look something like this.
You will notice that I pre-cooked some russet potatoes at the same time. Basically get one medium potato per person for tomorrow’s meal. You don’t want to fully bake these, maybe bake for about 45-50 minutes. We don’t want them mushy for the hash. If you need help with making a goddamn baked potato…. Shit, rinse and dry the potatoes, stick a few fork holes in them and bake. If I’m making a “baked potato” that’s going to be served with something like a steak, I rub some olive oil on the fork-pricked potato, sprinkle with some kosher salt and bake directly on the oven rack for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. We are just pre-cooking these potatoes for hash so there’s no need to do this last step.
Since we just let this cool down for 15 minutes or so this gives you a perfect opportunity to make a panty-dropping, ball-rocking, kick ass corned beef sandwich. Just grab a couple of slices of rye bread, spread some of that mustard we used earlier on a slice, put a few slices of the corned beef on that, maybe a slice of swiss cheese and throw that bastard back. Fucking delicious. I am going to leave this up to your discretion. I am cooking for three tomorrow and there will be more than enough leftover corned beef for the hash. Now say you are going to serve 4 or more, then maybe you’re going to have to skip the sandwich part. Too goddamn bad. That fucker is glorious. Maybe next St. Patrick’s Day you buy 2 extra slabs-o-meat, one for hash and the other for sandwiches.
Yes. I have!
Now let the corned beef and potatoes cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight.
It’s Sunday now and you are going to need about an hour or so of dicing and chopping time. This is the hidden work behind the scenes that most recipes fail to mention. This is the real fucking work. You’re going to be standing, chopping, standing some more, rinsing vegetables, cleaning your cutting board and washing a bunch of fuckin’ dishes. There’s no way around this part and I am hear to preach nothing but the truth. This is why chefs hire a damn sous chef to do all this fucking chopping. I really shouldn’t be standing on this shitty knee for a few hours but I did it anyway. This is where you find out how much you really enjoy cooking. You know what? I actually enjoy the chopping and shit. I could have had help but I did it anyway. Did the knee hurt like a bastard when I finally sat down? You bet your ass it did. I did let someone else wash the after dinner dishes. I’m not THAT insane.
Before we get to the ingredient list I’m going to show you a classic prep technique that is used by chefs all over the world who are preparing to cook for the masses. It is called “mise en place” which is French for “put in place.” It is pronounced “mi-za-plah”. We are going to make a work station where everything is pre-chopped and ready to rock so when you start cooking the hash all you will have to do is heat up the skillet and cook. You won’t have to start cooking, chop some stuff, keep cooking, chop some more stuff etc. Everything will be ready. This is my version of a mise en place.
It is also a handy visual guide to how fine or rough you want to chop your ingredients.
Corned beef hash!
One pre-cooked potato per person rough chopped
A couple of cups of the leftover corned beef rough chopped
1 medium onion chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic minced
couple 2-3 eggs fried either sunnyside up or over VERY easy.
Some fresh parsley
Some fresh chopped chives – if you want
Salt to taste – remember that the meat is carrying plenty of salt
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of dried or fresh thyme
Some cooking oil
Maybe an orange cut into wedges that you will squeeze a little juice from right at the end. Optional but it is tasty and this will teach you how to “brighten” a dish just before serving. I did not use orange because I forgot to buy one at the store like a goddamn chucklehead. It works great without the squeeze of orange too.
Time to cook!
Take out your bad ass cast iron skillet.
This skillet was created by the cooking gods just for this dish. Well that and fried chicken, or skillet cornbread or…Basically the best way to build the proper crust is to cook this in cast iron. Now, can you use a non cast iron or non-stick pan? Of course you can but you may miss out on the beauty of a properly cooked crust though. One quick aside: I mentioned earlier that I had help cleaning the after dinner dishes but NOBODY touches my cast iron skillet but me. I’ve spent years seasoning this thing and that can be undone in a minute if somebody tries to soak this or use dish soap. I clean and treat this bad boy myself. It will be a chore to clean after this dish but it’s worth it.
Start heating up your skillet. We are going to be using a medium heat today. Cooking order of the ingredients is important here folks. When the skillet is ready, add a couple of glugs of vegetable or canola oil. Olive oil has a lower burn point but bacon grease would be delightful too. Get about 1/3 of the chopped onion and 1/3 of the chopped red bell pepper and put them in first. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Do NOT put your garlic in yet. Once the onions and peppers have reached a translucent state add in the potatoes, the corned beef and the garlic. Mix all together. Using the edge of your spatula chop everything together, mix and chop, mix and chop. Season with a little salt and a couple of grinds of black pepper and a dusting of the thyme.
In order to build a good crust we are going to figure out a way to press everything down into the skillet. I use a regular dinner plate, and I just physically press it down into the skillet as much as it will go. You obviously want a plate that will fit in the skillet. If you want to use a smaller flat lid you can do that too. Just improvise some way to press everything down. Leave the plate on top of the hash while it’s cooking, it will act as a kind of lid. I was going to show a photo of the plate being pressed but the plate photos didn’t turn out.
Set a kitchen timer for 7 minutes and let this go undisturbed. After the 7 minutes are up, remove the plate (use your pot holders today people, in fact use two of them, the skillet will be hot and so will that plate on top.) Use your spatula and flip the hash over, season this side with a little salt and pepper and sprinkle of thyme and press that plate back down again. Yes the plate will be hot and a little messy so just scrape off the stuff stuck to it and handle with care. Set a kitchen timer for 5 minutes and let cook undisturbed.
During these last five minutes get those eggs a fryin’. I like to cook mine in either fresh butter or bacon grease. Cool egg frying tip! Crack the (either) 2 or 3 eggs into a bowl and once the butter has melted slide all of the eggs at once into the pan. Yes, this will be a different pan than the one the hash is in. The short order trick is getting the hash done and putting the hot eggs right on top. If you want to cook the eggs a little more than over easy, place a lid on the skillet that the eggs are cooking in for just a few seconds or until the top of the eggs have the desired doneness. This keeps you from having to flip the eggs and possibly breaking the yolks. You really want these eggs to be a little runny because that also adds to the overall deliciousness of the dish. If you’re serving toast you want to get that toasting too. Multi-tasking motherfuckers!
Remove the plate from the top of the hash using a pot holder, set aside, spatula up that hash onto a new plate, if you are using a squeeze of fresh orange do that now, also add a sprinkling of the parsley and chives, slide the eggs on top and put some grinds of black pepper over everything. Serve with toast on the side. I like rye bread as I’m sure most of you know.
I go though the same process for every person eating so that everybody has a hot delicious plate in front of them when it’s their turn to eat. Yes, it means I’m doing this 3 times today and yes, it means I am eating last. This explains why I used a mise en place and why today’s experience is pretty much “short order” cooking. The best part about going last is, the pan will be properly seasoned, the heat of the skillet will be nice and stable and you will have perfected your hash skills at this point. The last serving is always the best prepared. It is a long wait but it is so worth it.
I’m going to show that banner image again.
Sexy as fuck!
There are so many taste and textural elements at work here. The first thing to hit the taste buds will be the salty corned beef, followed by a blast of all of the herbal notes from the fresh chives, parsley and the thyme then comes a hint of sweetness from the onion and red bell pepper. If you used an orange squeeze you will get a subtle citrus touch. Now cut into one of those eggs and let the yolks slowly drizzle through the hash.
I’ll be right back!
/runs to bathroom to clean off.
Oh dear God, so fucking incredible. Use that toast and sop up the runny yolks and grease from the hash. You can also use it as backstop while you shovel the entire plate ferociously down your blissful gullet. A nice cold beer goes perfectly with this. Yes it’s OK to have breakfast for dinner as I am wont to do a couple of times per year. My breakfasts are normally fruit, yogurt and the occasional weekend scrambled egg sandwich so I kind of miss the big ol’ greasy cholesterol filled breakfast. I can’t do this shit all of the time at my age which is why I have breakfast for dinner 2 or 3 times a year.
What did we learn today class?
We learned a prep technique that will allow you to keep a razor sharp task on the cooking at hand, we also learned that it’s OK to have breakfast for dinner as well as remembering that a secondary meal may become a primary meal. Hash is a technique and everyone is different. I also like using leftover roast beef, or left over pork roast as the meat, you can alter the veggie ingredients to your liking and make it your own. Mushrooms would work really well. How about some shredded cheese at the end or some crumbled bacon? Get after it! This take is my own personal favorite
We also learned that we are a mean motherfucking hash slingin’ machine.
Thanks as always for reading.
Keep the faith fellow hash heads!
*special programming note: I am undergoing the knife on Monday and will be off my feet for a couple of weekends. Fear not! Sunday Gravy will continue. I’ve got a special substitute filling in until I am back on my feet. I think you’ll like him.