Top With a Fried Egg for Extra Flavor
What to do with leftover St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef?
One popular option is just having a whole second dinner — complete with leftover cabbage and carrots. And because cold Corned Beef sliced thinly makes a dynamite sandwich, that’s another idea.
But my favorite way to use leftover corned beef is to make Corned Beef Hash. It’s delicious served neat, and even better when topped with a fried or poached egg.
And it’s versatile! You can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or even as a late-night snack.
Recipe: Corned Beef Hash
Traditionally, Hash is a mix containing “meat, potatoes, and spices” that are thoroughly mixed (and often combined with onions and other ingredients — peas or carrots are common additions). Although you can bake hash, it’s usually pan fried slowly until it develops a deep brown, almost crunchy, crust.
Hash is almost always made from leftover meat — and often leftover potatoes (although if you lack those, you can boil some for the hash).
Ingredient quantities for Corned Beef Hash are flexible. I like to use roughly equal amounts of corned beef and potatoes (with maybe a somewhat larger quantity of the latter). For each pound of meat, I generally use one medium onion.
There are several methods of making hash, including some complicated ones that require you to first make a white sauce. My recipe is about as easy as you can get. I’ve been making this for so long that I’ve forgotten which recipe I originally used — probably the one the one from James Beard’s American Cookery, which is similar to mine.
This recipe serves 4, and can easily be doubled. Leftovers keep well for a few days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It takes about 15 minutes to mix the Hash (another 10 or 15 if you don’t have leftover potatoes and need to boil some), and 30 - 40 minutes to cook.
- 1 - 1½ pounds uncooked or leftover boiled (or steamed) waxy potatoes (about 3 or 4 cups)
- 1 pound leftover Corned Beef (about 3 cups)
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced fine
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or to taste; optional)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- ½ - 1 cup chicken or beef stock or water
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- fried or poached eggs for garnish (optional; 1 or 2 for each serving)
- parsley garnish (optional)
- If you don’t have leftover potatoes, you’ll need to cook some first: Scrub, peel, and cut waxy potatoes into ¼- to ½-inch dice. Cook according to the directions in Potato Salad Basics, or using your favorite recipe.
- If you’re using leftover potatoes, remove skins (optional; I often leave them on) and cut into ¼- to ½-inch dice. Place in mixing bowl.
- Remove excess fat from the Corned Beef if you wish (leaving it in makes the dish somewhat more caloric, but juicier and tastier). Either slice beef into ¼- to ½-inch dice, or cut into chunks and whirl in food processor until it reaches the desired size, and add to mixing bowl. (You can blend the corned beef and potatoes together in the food processor until they reach a pasty consistency, but I don’t think the resulting Hash will have as much character or eye-appeal.)
- Peel and cut onion into ¼-inch dice, and add to mixing bowl with corned beef and potatoes.
- Mix thoroughly and add dried thyme (optional) and salt and pepper to taste. Add a bit of chicken or beef stock (or water) to help hold the mixture together — usually ½ to 1 cup is sufficient.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium heat (cast iron is ideal); when hot, add oil, wait a few seconds until it heats (it will shimmer), then dump contents of mixing bowl into the frying pan (carefully so the hot fat doesn’t spatter).
- Press down on Hash with the back of a spatula to form a nice, smooth cake, reduce heat just a bit, and slowly sauté (pan fry) for about 10 minutes until crust begins to form.
- After 10 minutes, stir Hash with the spatula (to incorporate the crusty bottom throughout the Hash), pat down again with the spatula to smooth the top, and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Again stir the Hash to incorporate the crusty bottom into the rest of the Hash. (You don't have to mix in the crust, but I think the Hash has more flavor if you do.)
- Cook another 10 - 20 minutes until Hash is piping hot. About 5 minutes before serving, prepare your optional fried or poached eggs for garnish, using your favorite recipe.
- Either serve the Corned Beef Hash from the frying pan (I usually do) or upend a plate over the frying pan, and turn the plate and frying pan so the Hash will fall from the frying pan onto the plate. Serve with optional eggs and garnish with minced parsley.
- I often run the Hash under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the top. That way I have a nice crust both on the top and bottom of the Hash. Don’t do this if the handle of your frying pan isn’t heat proof.
- If you want to mix the Hash in advance of cooking it, prepare through Step 6, then refrigerate in an airtight container for a few hours or overnight.
- Instead of using stock or water to moisten the Hash (Step 6), you can substitute milk or cream.
- You could also use some poaching liquid from the corned beef preparation, if you have reserved it. I prefer the taste of chicken or beef stock, but try using the poaching liquid if the idea interests you — you may prefer that.
- I’ve also seen recipes that use whole eggs to help bind the meat, potatoes, and onions together. (A white sauce does much the same thing.) This seems unnecessary, but if you value a well-homogenized consistency that is reminiscent of canned Corned Beef Hash, that might be the ticket for you.
- Speaking of canned Hash, if you ever use the stuff and want nice circles to pan fry, chill the can overnight. Next day, use a can opener to open both ends. Put the can on its side and remove the lid from one end. Push on the other end until you have about an inch of Hash emerging from the can. Using the edge of the can as a guide, cut straight down with a knife. Voilà! A perfect hockey puck of Hash. Repeat until you’ve used the entire contents of the can.
- Want to make those perfectly round hockey pucks out of your homemade hash? Chill overnight and then press some Hash down into a round ring mold or cookie cutter (about a 4-inch size). Smooth the top of the Hash, remove the mold, and there you have it! I’d chill again before cooking so it holds together a bit better (wrap each hockey puck in cling wrap), though you may find this isn’t necessary.
- When you’re cooking your hockey puck, don’t follow the instructions in Step 9 — if you mix the crust into the rest of the Hash you’re going to ruin the symmetry of the circle. Instead, sauté on the first side for about 10 minutes, then flip and cook until it has heated through and a crust has formed on the second side, and serve.
- Although I like the combo of Corned Beef Hash and a fried or poached egg, the Hash tastes mighty good by itself. Most of the time that’s how I actually eat it. The egg looks pretty, though.
- A lot of people like chili sauce or tomato sauce (or ketchup) with their hash. I prefer mine au naturel, but do whatever excites your taste buds.
Is Corned Beef Hash Habit Forming?
You can make hash out of any meat — pork, chicken, whatever. But when we hear “hash,” most of us think “corned beef” — which in my book is the tastiest of the lot.
Because St. Patrick’s Day is the only time most of us cook corned beef, that means shortly after St. Pat’s is the only time we make homemade Corned Beef Hash. Too bad.
This dish is so good, you may want to start cooking Corned Beef more frequently — just so you can have the leftovers for hash. Who could blame you? One bite of this stuff, and you’re hooked.
Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
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