Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hash It Over

Once considered a traditional breakfast side dish, hash has been dished up in both diners and home kitchens alike. I will admit that when I think of hash, I get a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach and think of some can on a shelf in the canned vegetable aisle at the grocery store. The picture isn't appetizing, and I question why someone would subject themselves to such a foodstuff.

But since hash consists of finely-chopped ingredients mashed into a paste, the end result of a homemade hash certainly makes the canned variety pale in comparison. Corned beef is the preferred choice of meat; however, any leftovers will suffice. Typically, leftover beef, onions, potatoes, and spices serve as the basis for the dish. Quite often, the mixture accompanies eggs and toast on the breakfast plate.

But depending on your geographic region, hash might resemble a completely different dish. In Cuba, hash is a.k.a. picadillo - shredded beef (although sometimes shredded chicken), garlic, tomatoes, onion, and spices - used as a stuffing for tacos. Occasionally, additional vegetables are added to the mix; the Cuban version, featuring raisins and olives, is a well-known rendition.

In the southern U.S., shredded pork and barbeque sauce marinate into a spicy mixture and the meat is served over rice.

Traditional corned beef hash remains relatively simple to make. Serve this one beside eggs cooked to your style for a hearty breakfast. The ingredients list includes:
  • 2 lbs. cooked corn beef, cubed
  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 T. butter

Boil potatoes until tender but firm. Drain, cool and dice. Saute pepper and onion in 2 T.butter. Mix cubed corn beef, potatoes, pepper, onion, egg yolk, and egg until a firm consistency, similar to a meatloaf. Form into patties. You may chill overnight or fix immediately. Melt 4 T. butter over medium heat, add meat mixture, and cook thoroughly (approximately 8 - 10 minutes).

If you prefer to utilize those meaty leftovers for another main dish meal, try a Texas hash. This dish is a family favorite!

  • 1 1/2 lbs. beef
  • 3 onions, diced
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes, with juice
  • 1/2 c. uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 quart casserole dish. Brown beef and onions. When onions are transparent, add peppers and garlic. Cook until green peppers are soft. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients and pour into casserole dish. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Remove lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.

4 - 6 servings.

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