I fell in love with corned beef hash when I was working really long days for IBM. I would arrive early, head straight to the cafeteria and get breakfast. I didn’t usually get a chance to eat lunch until about 3 pm so I needed something that would give me plenty of energy to last through the day. A good balance of carbs and proteins was perfect. The carbs give you a quick hit of sugar and the protein helps balance your blood sugar and gives you sustained stamina. When you are pulling 12+ hour days, you need a lot of energy.
Hash is usually a blend of potatoes, meat, and aromatics. It can be as simple as 3 ingredients, or complex with a dozen. It all depends on your taste and how much effort you want to put into it. I love turkey hash after Thanksgiving and a real treat is roast beef hash. Of course leftovers from St. Patrick’s Day are perfect for turning into hash. You will usually have extra beef, and if you made enough potatoes and aren’t serving me (because I can eat my weight in potatoes, LOL) then you will have those leftover as well.
If you don’t have leftover potatoes and don’t want to deal with peeling and chopping Russets, you can use Yukon Gold potatoes (no peeling required) or frozen O’Brien potatoes are a good, fast substitute. I like to precook my potatoes, at least halfway and then finish them in the skillet before adding the meat.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to the texture of hash. Some like it really chunky, where each ingredient stands out. Others prefer it mashed together and fried in patties. Either way is delicious and it is a matter of preference. If you like it all mashed together, the old-fashioned method was to toss all the ingredients together and then run them through a meat grinder. This produces a very evenly textured mixture.
Virtually every country has some version of hash, called by their own names. In Mexico it is picadillo, in Malaysia it is bergedil. In Austria they call it grostl, and in Sweden it is known as pyttipanna. Each cuisine figures out a creative way to utilize leftover, featuring its own native ingredients. What would you use?
The other half of a corned beef hash breakfast are the eggs served on top. Ideally they should be cooked softly so that the yolk breaks over the hash. If you hate soft eggs, cook them longer. This is about creating something that is pleasing for you. You can fry, steam, or bake them, but my favorite technique is poaching. A fat-free method, it can be challenging, but a little trick will have you turning out perfectly poached egg after egg!
Adding just a little white vinegar to the water and keeping it under a simmer will give you the results you want. In a professional kitchen, the eggs are cooked ahead and kept in a bowl of cold water. They also set the eggs on a board and trim off any excess egg white until they are perfectly round. I obviously don’t bother with that at home, but if you want them to be beautiful, that is how you can do it.
One of my pet peeves when it comes to poached eggs is water in the dish. It only takes a second and you can avoid this. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer and before you place the eggs in your container, tap the bottom of the spoon on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. That absorbs the excess moisture and leaves your eggs perfectly dry before plating them. Yeah!
I have given you two hash recipes to choose from. The first is very traditional, simply seasoned and prepared. The second recipe has a few more ingredients and is a little richer and more highly seasoned. And then the final recipe is for perfectly poached eggs – eggs you will be proud to serve any day of the week.
Whether you make your hash with corned beef from St. Patrick’s day, turkey from Thanksgiving, or roast beef from Sunday Supper, I know you will have a meal with the ingredients to keep you going all day. Enjoy the easy preparation of a seemingly complex dish, and have time to relax over your breakfast!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Sláinte!
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cups diced cooked potatoes, or frozen O’Brien potatoes
- 1 cup (4 oz) chopped lean corned beef brisket
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 large eggs
- In a large cast-iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until it starts to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add potatoes and cook, stirring, until they brown in spots and become crusty, about 8 minutes more. Stir in corned beef and broth and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until liquid is absorbed, 5 to 8 minutes. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, fill a large skillet with 2 inches salted water and bring to a gentle simmer. Break eggs, one at a time, onto a saucer and slide into the simmering water. Poach eggs until set to desired firmness, 4 to 5 minutes. (See recipe below for Perfectly Poached Eggs for success tips.)
- Divide hash among 4 plates. Place eggs on top of hash.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 baking potatoes (about 1 lb), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1-1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, chopped
- 2 tbsp prepared horseradish
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 8 oz thinly sliced corned beef, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch wide strips, or cubed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes; cook, turning often, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until potatoes and onions are browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add bell pepper, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook until peppers are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in corned beef and cream until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
- 1 to 2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
- 12 eggs
- Heat about 3 inches of water in a large saucepan with straight sides over medium heat to a simmer. Stir in vinegar.
- Crack each egg into individual small bowls or cups. Slide eggs, one by one, from the bowls into the simmering water, cooking no more than 4 per batch. Maintain the water just below a simmer, reducing the heat to low if necessary. Bubbles around the sides of the pan are fine but there should be no bubbles that break the surface of the water.
- Cook until the whites are set and the centers are still soft, about 3 minutes. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon, tap bottom of spoon on a clean kitchen towel or paper towel, and place in small warmed bowls, cups or ramekins.
- To Cook Ahead: Cook as above but when you remove eggs from hot water, place them in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. You can keep them in the water for a few hours, covered, in the refrigerator.
- Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil, reduce the heat and hold at just below a simmer. It should be steaming hot.
- When you are ready to serve, carefully transfer eggs to hot water and re-warm for about 30 seconds or until heated through. Remove from hot water with a slotted spoon, tap bottom of spoon on a clean kitchen towel or paper towel to get rid of extra water, and serve.