I adore corned beef hash. Truly love it. For years, my favorite diner breakfast has been corned beef hash with a poached egg. And if there is rye toast, I am even happier.
One thing can ruin it all. The dreaded green pepper. Don’t get me started. If you have had breakfast with me, it’s likely you’ve heard me quiz the wait staff – are there peppers in your hash? I give them a stern look, as if I might expire if even a teeny bit of green pepper were to cross my path. I scare them so much, they check with the chef.
Last year, when I made corned beef for Charcutepalooza, I made hash from the leftovers. I may have cried when it was all gone. Now, as a result of my Charcuterie Workshop over the weekend, I have a lovely piece of corned beef in the refrigerator. There really is nothing like homemade corned beef. It’s not just for St. Patrick’s Day, even if that is just a few minutes away. So go ahead, give it a try? It is so much better than anything you might have had commercially.
It takes very little to make corned beef. The only thing you need is a non-reactive bowl or giant ziplock bag for brining, and a stockpot or pan large enough to simmer the brisket. Look for a five or six pound center cut brisket, it will cook evenly and slice nicely. Please buy good beef, grass fed, pastured, and from a farmer or butcher you trust. The quality of your corned beef is directly related to the quality of the meat you select.
Once you have the meat, it’s as simple as making a brine, adding pickling spice and letting the brisket hang out in the refrigerator for a week. Check this post for all the details on brining.
If you want your corned beef to retain a pink color, you will need to use nitrates, or Pink Salt.
After a week in the brine, rinse the meat really, really well. Simmer the brisket with more pickling spices until fork tender. Either serve warm with steamed or boiled or braised or roasted cabbage and carrots and any other root veg lying around.
If you prefer, chill the meat well, then slice it to make your own deli sandwiches. It’s rich. A five pound brisket will yield 3+ pounds of corned beef. Plan 3-4 ounces per person, which means nine to twelve servings. It freezes well, and holds in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
When you are ready for the perfect comfort food. The food that makes your belly smile. The food that screams put an egg on me. Here is the recipe for my favorite corned beef hash.
P.S. Spicy ketchup is the perfect condiment.
Corned Beef Hash
Enough for four, or two, or one. I won’t tell.
12 oz yukon gold potatoes, skin on, cut into 1/2″ dice
3-4 Tbls. duck fat, butter, olive oil, or lard
1 large shallot, minced
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2″ dice
12 oz sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
12 oz corned beef, cut into 1/2″ dice
Generous fancy good salt and black pepper
A good farm fresh egg or two for each person, optional, but divine
In a medium saucepan, cover the diced yukon gold potatoes with cold water. Add a large pinch of salt.
Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, until just barely fork tender. Use this time to chop the onions and sweet potatoes.
In a large, well seasoned cast iron pan, or similar, melt the duck fat until it is bubbling.
Add the shallot and onion and cook until translucent.
Add the sweet potato and toss well to coat.
At this point, the yukon golds will be ready, so strain them and add them to the hash pan.
Stir and coat everything in onion and duck fat. If it’s not glistening, add another tablespoon of duck fat.
Salt and pepper generously. Stir, cook for about five minutes.
Chop up the corned beef. Sometimes, I like big cubes. Other times, I like it sort of shredded.
(If you want to make patties, and desire a more uniform texture, put the uncooked vegetables and the corned beef through the KA meat grinder attachment, large die.)
By now, there should be patches of bronzed onions and edges of caramelization on the corners of the sweet potatoes.
Add the corned beef and combine the ingredients gently. If it seems dry, add more fat, but do so sparingly. You don’t want this to be greasy.
Press the hash down gently to make a cake in the pan. The heat should be in the medium to medium high range. Now, stop fussing. Walk away. Do not push and prod the hash. Leave it alone until you smell the crust forming. You will know what I mean. It almost smells like it’s burning, but it’s better than that. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.
If you are poaching an egg, get a pan of water boiling.
Now, turn everything in the pan over, either show off and flip the pancake (yeah, right) or just turn it over in the best fashion you can muster.
Press everything down again, and walk away for another few minutes. Poach the eggs.
Now, finally, it’s ready to serve. You can thank me later; you’re busy eating now.