SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - If you are like my wife and I, then you celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in some way. For us, that meant homemade corned beef and cabbage last week. If you ended up making or buying corned beef, you likely had at least a bit of corned beef left over. I love left over corned beef as it makes great Reuben sandwiches as well as awesome hash. Often we have breakfast for dinner and this is a dish we would definitely make for dinner. However, it certainly could be used for brunch or a hearty breakfast.
Traditionally, corned beef hash consists of shredded corned beef with cubed or hash brown potatoes and some onion and served alongside a fried or poached egg. This dish definitely has all of that, but I tend to take a kitchen sink approach to it in terms of adding additional vegetables. I like to add greens, peppers, a mix of potatoes, and any other vegetable that I might have on hand that needs to be used. By preserving the crispy potatoes and corned beef as a base, adding additional vegetables simple adds complexity, color, and more nutrition to the mix. It also lightens it up. Make no mistake, this is still a hearty dish. However, it just is not quite so meat and potatoes focused.
In order to make the potatoes crispy, there are really a number of ways to go. One, you can cube the potatoes and cut them very small, thus shortening the cooking time in the pan (so that the potatoes brown and crisp at the same time they cook through…otherwise you can end up with browned potatoes that are not cooked through or black potatoes that spent too long in the pan, so they burned). Another way you can go is to shred or grate the potatoes and then wring out the excess water, which allows for improved browning. I decided to go a different route and keep the potatoes in relatively larger pieces. You can do that while at the same time avoid burning them by parboiling them. That is, cooking them in boiling water for 10 minutes or so (depending on the size of the potatoes) until they are half cooked. I then dunk them in ice water, which stops the cooking. From there, you simply dry them off and cut them in larger sized pieces. This allows the potatoes to finish cooking in the hash pan, browning them as they finish, without risking burning them (or at least reducing that risk).
If you don’t have corned beef or if you don’t care for it, you can certainly use sausage, bacon, ham, or any meat you’d prefer. If you want to make this a vegetarian meal, skip the meat completely and stick with the vegetables or add cooked beans or lentils at the very end for additional protein, fiber, and flavor. At any rate, you can’t go wrong with hash and you can certainly make it your own based on your personal tastes while using ingredients you have on hand.
1-2 Cups corned beef, shredded or cubed
5-8 Small potatoes, parboiled and halved
2 Small sweet potatoes, peeled, parboiled, and cubed
1 Medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 Red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 Green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
4 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Bunch swish chard, wilted and chopped
1-2 Green onions, thinly sliced
½ Cup Italian parsley, rough chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 Fried egg per person
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
· Parboil the potatoes by bringing water to boil then cooking the potatoes until a fork can pierce them but will not go all the way through (time will depend on the size of potatoes used but 10-15 minutes is a good estimate). Cook the regular potatoes first then cook the peeled and still whole sweet potatoes. Once cooked, place in large ice bath to cool completely.
· In the meantime, heat a pan on medium low heat. Remove the chard leaves from the stems. Add a bit of grapeseed oil to the pan and then add the chard. Allow the chard to stay in the pan for just a bit and then add a couple tablespoons of water to the pan. Sprinkle the chard with kosher salt and then start turning the greens in the pan until it all is just wilted, less than two minutes.
· Line a plate with a paper towel and remove the chard from the pan and place on the paper towels. Set aside.
· Cube or shred the corned beef and set aside.
· Heat a large pan over medium heat for a few minutes. In the meantime, begin chopping the various vegetables. Place the vegetables in a bowl and set aside.
· Once the pan is ready, add a few tablespoons of the grapeseed oil (enough to barely coat the pan but no more) and then add the corned beef. Reduce heat to low and cook corned beef, allowing it to brown and render some of the fat into the pan, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid burning. Remove the cooked corned beef from the pan and set aside.
· Increase the heat to medium again and add the halved small potatoes to the pan. Cook until golden, about 10 minutes. Then add the cubed sweet potatoes to the pan. Allow them to brown and cook through, another 5-10 minutes.
· Add the onions and red and green bell peppers to the pan, then a touch of kosher salt, and cook until browned and cooked through, another 5-8 minutes. Then add the minced garlic, reduce heat to low and cook another minute. If the pan seems too dry, add a touch more grapeseed oil.
· Add the corned beef back to the pan, allowing it to combine with the vegetables and warm through.
· In the meantime, heat another pan on medium high for a couple of minutes and then fry the eggs, one or two at a time until finished.
· Add the chard back to the pan with the corned beef and vegetables and allow to warm through, about 30 seconds. Then turn off the heat and add the parsley, tarragon, and season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Add a touch of red pepper flake if using. Add the thinly sliced green onions over the top.
To serve, add a healthy amount of the hash to a plate and then gently place one fried egg over the top. Serve immediately while very hot.
Craig Thiebaud is a Diplomat of Classic Culinary Arts at the International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute) located in SOHO in New York City. After extensive training in the Art of French cooking and professional food preparation in general, he brings his knowledge of food and passion for cooking to us by sharing culinary techniques and creating recipes that mainly use local, seasonal ingredients and can be easily recreated in the home kitchen. Good, wholesome meals for the family can be created quickly with planning, using the best techniques with the best ingredients that are both affordable and available. Let's get back into the kitchen together!