March 12, 2020
What to do with those corned beef dinner leftovers? Make hash, of course.
My mother always put aside some of the corned beef dinner fixings’ just for this purpose, and she would crank it through the meat grinder, that cast-aluminum model that got clamped to the table.
Truth be told, this was my job…the vegetables and meat would squish out through the small holes of the attached die-piece.
As much fun as this process was, it did render ALL the ingredients to a bit of a wet-homogenous pile.
As I thought about my mother’s technique, I realized that some chef-style improvements could be brought to bear on the process:
1.) Draining the meat and cabbage on paper towels overnight in the fridge would remove excess moisture and yield a firmer finished product.
2.) Cooking a new batch of carrots and potatoes would add flavor & texture. (The potatoes & carrots that cooked together with the corned beef have given up both their texture and flavor to the cooking broth.)
3.) Adding prepared sauerkraut to the hash adds piquancy and texture to the finished dish, and it’s not detectable as a strong sauerkraut flavor; it gives nuance and crunch to the dish. (I continue to experiment with our new line of Cleveland Kraut. Choose your favorite flavor.)
1-pound cooked, drained-on paper-towels & chilled corned beef
1 cup white or Spanish onion, small, ¼-inch dice
¾ cup peeled and diced carrots (small ¼-inch dice as well)
1 ¼- pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cooked and diced to yield 2-cups
1 cup cooked, drained & dried cabbage, roughly chopped
¾ cup prepared sauerkraut
½ cup vegetable oil, divided (plus more as needed)
Optional: 2-3 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted)
Freshly-ground black pepper
Cook the potatoes in salted, simmering water until easily pierced with a knife. Drain and let cool. When cooled, cut into large-diced pieces. Set aside.
Cut the cooked corned beef into large chunks and set aside. You should have approximately 3 cups.
Dice the onion into small, ¼-inch pieces and set aside.
Peel and dice the carrots. Set aside.
Roughly chop the cooked cabbage. Set aside.
Rinse the prepared sauerkraut under cold, running water. Squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside.
I used two (2) non-stick sauté pans to make this hash. I sautéed the carrots and onions in the smaller pan—the decreased surface area prevents the vegetables from browning and speeds up softening by retaining moisture during the cooking process.
Heat the smaller sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Immediately add the diced onions and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook briefly, 3-4 minutes to soften the onions. Add the diced carrots and another pinch of salt. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until both the carrots and onions are tender. Add 2 more tablespoons of vegetable oil and/or butter to the pan. Add the chopped cabbage and the sauerkraut to the carrots and onions. Cook until combined and hot to the touch. Set aside.
Heat the larger sauté pan over medium heat. Add 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil to the pan. Add the cooked diced potatoes the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch of both salt & ground black pepper. Let them brown a bit, don’t move them around until you get a bit of crust on the bottom, if you can…. sometimes this is difficult to do in a non-stick pan.
Add a bit more oil or a tablespoon or two of butter to the pan and add the contents of the smaller sauté pan to the larger pan. Add the diced corned beef and stir well to evenly combine all the ingredients.
Continue to cook until hash is completely heated through and piping hot.
Taste for seasoning…it may or may not need additional salt, but be liberal with the fresh-ground black pepper.
(n.b. To get crispy diner-style hash, add more butter and/or oil to the pan and don’t stir it around once all the ingredients have been mixed together. Let a crust form on the bottom. Turn the hash over, using a non-scratch spatula, a ‘section’ at a time, to brown the other side).
Serve with poached or fried eggs.
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