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Corned Beef Hash

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Woe is me! <LOL> I've been trying to find a decent recipe/technique for making a great corned beef hash. I've looked at and tried many recipes, and none have been satisfactory. I've even tried canned and packaged hash - all have been insipid impostors. The best hash I've ever had was in the summer of 1992, in a little café in Bridgeport, CA, on the eastern slope of the Sierras. It was incredible.

So, if you've got a great CBH recipe, or have some techniques for preparing CBH, maybe you can pass 'em along.

Shel
post #2 of 13
What I've found to be the key in good corned beef hash is to really brown the corned beef in the pan. This takes longer than you might think for a hash that uses precooked ingredients. I'll take a dig through my stuff for the recipe I use most.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 13
I agree with phatch that the cooking is as or more important than the individual recipe. I don't think there is a significant difference in a lot of good recipes out there. To me its getting the hash to cook correctly- crispy on the outside and the right mouthfeel on the inside. The thing I've found with a bunch of the premade hashes out there is they sort of dissolve when you fry them instead of sticking together.
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #4 of 13
Which leads into this clarification. It's easiest to cook a good cornbeef hash in cast iron pans. The corned beef will stick as it browns, which is necessary for good browning. But release effortlessly without added fat when properly browned. You will need added fat for that in a stainless steel pan. Teflon won't create enough color for this dish.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 13
For me, the secret to a good corned beef hash is the crust on the bottom and top and yummy moistness in the middle. The only way I've been able to achieve this is to work in stages.

I like a little larger potato maybe a tiny bit smaller than cottage fries but bigger and distinct cubes than chopped hashbrowns. I cut my potatoes to size and microwave them until done. (I keep them moist by using a wet paper towel over the potatoes and then covering that with plastic wrap.)

In a hot cast iron skillet add bacon grease or olive oil. Saute garlic, green bell pepper or hot fresh jalapeno (without seeds - it will be mild and sweetish chili flavored) and onion until tender and translucent. No color on the veg. In the last 5 minutes I will add my finely chopped corn beef and cook into the veg to heat the corned beef. Then remove from heat and deglaze pan if necessary. If deglazing, reduce liquid to a syrup state and add to the beef and veg mixture.

To the hot skillet, add more oil of your choice. Add the potatoes and salt, pepper and garlic powder if necessary and let them brown up well on all sides. Avoid over stirring. Once they are browned, add the meat mixture and press down to form a firm disc. If necessary (meaning if the potatoes used up all the oil in the pan), add extra oil to the pan by drizzling it around the edge of the pan. Cook over medium to medium-high, DO NOT DISTURB! Don't stir, don't monkey with it. You will smell when it's brown and crusty. If your pan is well seasoned you should theoretically at this point, be able to place a plate or tray over the pan and invert the contents of the hash onto it, then transfer it back to a reoiled hot pan and finish cooking on the second side. Repeat for side two.

In a separate pan fry 2 eggs in bacon grease till done to your specs. Serve a wedge of corned beef hash with the eggs on top and some great English Muffins or toast! Grits go great with this on the side! :D
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hmm, I'm not sure what a "cottage fry" is. I'll have tp look it up somewhere. Is it smaller than a home fry, which, to me at least, can be of a variety of sizes and shapes. Growing up, a home fry was thick, circular slices of potatoes, but then I got to California they were more like chunks, large dice, and the like.

What would you use to deglaze the pan with? I was thinking perhaps a sherry wine vinegar, or some other type of vinegar.

I'll try the technique as soon as I get some decent corned beef.

Thanks,

Shel
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I don't think I'd ever made CBH in a non-stick skillet, but I may have.

Shel
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'd love to see your recipe ... it looks like there have been a few good comments about technique, including a couple from you.

Shel
post #9 of 13
Hi Shel,

Cottage fries to me are about 1 to 1-1/2" cubes of potatoes with the skins on. For me, if you're gonna go for a vinegar I would do a malt vinegar or an apple cider vinegar. I've been known to deglaze with a little stout doncha know! :D. Also some bushmills or jameson is pretty interesting too! But honestly when I use a cast iron skillet, I don't usually have alot of sticking...because as phatch said in his post, the hash will initially stick but then release as it's fully browned...alot like meat does in a non-stick pan. I usually only have to add extra oil in the beginning when putting everything back together again after cooking the tatoes. They are the things that blot up the oil more than anything else.
post #10 of 13
Shel-
The best corned beef hash I've ever had was at the Colonial Inn in Concord, Mass. Not convenient to you... sorry.

A key to good hash is a small dice of the CB - not ground. That's what the Colonial Inn does. Big Jim Beard uses cold, cubed boiled potatoes, and a chopped onion. He likes a touch of nutmeg in his, along with black pepper. He lets the mix rest in the fridge overnight. He builds the crust in his buttered (or sueted) iron skillet until it's ready to turn, then adds 1/2 cup heavy cream to speed up the bottom crust. If you're counting calories, substitute boiling water.

The other key is a good corned beef, which is not easy to find. Supermarket CB ain't it. Years ago, I could go to Stein's Deli in nearby Lyons, IL, but they're out of business for a long time. :(

If you can find a local maker of CB, get the corned round.

Good fressing

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #11 of 13
About like Mike said.

1 medium onion, diced
2 medium russet potatotos--baked or boiled in their skins and cooled, peel and cut in 1/4-1/2 inch chunks
1 pound corned beef, the good stuff as pointed out, shredded or chopped.
black pepper
dash or two of worcestershire sauce
bacon drippings or other oil as needed

Heat a 12 inch skillet. If your CB is really lean, add some bacon fat or oil. Add the onion, potato and CB. Season with pepper and the worcestershire sauce. Toss to mix. let sit till it's crusty. Scrape up and toss through. Let crust up again and repeat a few more times. Now let it cook together into a nice cake. You can crisp the top under the broiler or you can flip it by slipping it out onto a plate and then invert it back into the pan as described in an earlier post.

I'm a heathen and like a little ketchup with mine.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure that a dice is the key. The CBH that I had wasn't diced. However, it's become clear to me over the years that a dice is a good way to go, far superior to ground.

It's interesting that you mention leaving the mixture in the fridge over night. In the latter stages of my quest I discovered that technique, and it seems to be a step that enhances the result. Too many recipes/techniques omit that step.

I'm still looking for good, local corned beef. I've found some that's "acceptable," but not great. Have no fear ... I generally don't shop in supermarkets ... most supermarkets and places like Costco and Wal-Mart don't carry the quality meat and produce that I seek. They're okay for some canned goods though <LOL>

Thanks for jumping in and for your suggestions.

Shel
post #13 of 13
Shel-
If you find a good corned round, maybe the butcher would slice it into 1/4" slices for you. That way you could cut 2-3 slices at a time into strips and then crossways to make the dice.

Good luck on finding the CB.

Mike .
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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