Friday, March 20, 2009

"James Beard's American Cookery" - Corned Beef Hash

Date I made this recipe: Wednesday, March 18, 2009

James Beard’s American Cookery by James Beard
Published by: Little, Brown and Company
© 1972
Recipe: Corned Beef Hash – p. 304-305

As I mentioned in my previous blog about corned beef and cabbage, corned beef hash is one of my favorite meals and so I made sure to save enough of it to have leftovers.

Unlike previous blog postings where I can be a bit…chatty, there isn’t much to say about corned beef hash because it is so simple to make. You dice your leftover corned beef and potatoes, add a little onion that’s also been chopped, melt some butter in a pan, throw on some salt and pepper and, if desired, nutmeg and there you have it! Comfort food 101! I think my husband and I ate the entire pan of it in less than 15 minutes (I was starving).

Of course, inhaling the dish as quickly as we did didn’t allow us to appreciate it in the way the legendary author, James Beard, intended, but some things are meant to be eaten with gusto.

For those of you who don’t have leftover corned beef lying around, James included a recipe using canned corned beef and canned corned beef hash and so I will include instructions below. It’s the least I can do seeing that out of all the (probably) wonderful recipes included in this book, I selected a dish using leftovers, but hey, the guy had me at “For many people this is the best part of the corned beef.”

I couldn’t agree more. Enjoy!

Corned Beef Hash - serving size unknown but note: the yield on this dish is dependent on how much leftover corned beef and potatoes you have!
2 pounds cold corned beef
4 to 6 cold boiled potatoes of medium size, coarsely chopped
1 medium size onion, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Butter of beef drippings
Heavy cream or boiling water (optional)

Chop the meat fairly fine with a knife rather than put it through the grinder. Combine the potatoes and onion with the meat and add a few good grinds of black pepper and the nutmeg. Blend well and allow to rest in the refrigerator several hours or overnight. (I skipped that step—who has time to wait?!)

When ready to cook, melt just enough butter or beef drippings in a heavy skillet to cover the bottom – 4 to 6 tablespoons. Add the hash and press down somewhat firmly. When the hash begins to develop a crust on the bottom, turn with a spatula so that some of the crust is brought to the top. At this point many people add about ½ cup of heavy cream or some boiling water, which enables the bottom crust to form more quickly. I prefer to cook the hash slowly to develop the crust, turning it several times. (This is James Beard’s instruction). When it has crusted nicely, loosen it with a spatula, fold it once, and turn it out on a platter, crusty side up. Serve with poached eggs, toast, and chili sauce.

Quick Corned Beef Hash
1 can corned beef
1 can corned beef hash
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
5 tablespoons butter or beef drippings

Chop the canned corned beef rather coarsely and combine with the corned beef hash and chopped onion. Heat the butter or beef drippings in a heavy skillet, and cook the hash, pressing it down well to start a crust. Scrape the bottom with a spatula and bring some of the crisp bits to the top. Continue doing this until the crusty and the soft parts are equally mixed. Then let the bottom crust uniformly. Using a spatula, fold over the hash as you would an omelet and turn out on a hot platter.

PS-This book probably came with a dust jacket and no doubt it was way more interesting than the boring cover on this blog but I don’t have it so there you go.

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