Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Roast Beef Hash: The Real Thing


I love hash. Roast beef, corned beef, pork hash. Gawd help me, I even like the kind that comes in a can.

I like it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I often buy a roast too big for the two of us to eat just so I'll have leftovers to turn into crisp, succulent, indulgent and aromatic hash. Sometimes I can honestly say that I like this leftover meal even better than the original roast with all the trimmings.

That's my confession for the week, and I'm not backing down from it.

Within the last few years I started adding hot peppers and cumin to it (especially good with leftover pork!), and I like it now even more than ever! Put an egg on top for breakfast and it's almost as good as huevos motulenos!

There are a lot of recipes out there in cyber land dealing with the making of roast beef hash, but to me it just isn't proper hash without the addition of cream to the mix. And both the meat and potatoes should be diced small (I usually shred the meat and then chop it, too, for good measure), so that it melds together and gets nice and crispy. You can do it some other way if you want, but it won't be as good. ;-)

When I fix a big roast, knowing I'm going to be making some hash the next day, I usually boil a couple of potatoes and stick them in the fridge overnight. These potatoes work the best for hash, but freshly boiled ones are OK, too. It's just that the pre-cooked ones are easier to get really crispy, and the texture of the finished dish is a bit different, too.

ROAST BEEF HASH: THE REAL THING

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) cooked potatoes, diced in 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups leftover roast beef, shredded or diced in 1/4-inch cubes (or corned beef or pork)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, roasted, seeded and finely diced (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions
If using fresh potatoes, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just tender, about 15-20 minutes. (A fork should easily slip into them, but you don't want them too soft! They should hold their shape when diced.) Immediately plunge the potatoes into ice water to stop the cooking process, then blot them dry with a clean kitchen towel and put them in the fridge while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Once everything else is ready to go, dice the potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes.

Pour the oil into a large heavy skillet (cast iron is the best) on medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, but not smoking, add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown. Add the onion and cook until the onions are translucent and soft, another 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently.

Add the roast beef, garlic, peppers, thyme, cumin, and nutmeg. Stir it all together and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour in the heavy cream, and stir until well mixed, then squash the mixture down with the back of a spatula (or whatever works for you) until it is somewhat flattened. Cook for a final 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes until very crispy and browned. Season with salt and pepper. Top with a fried egg, if that's your pleasure, and serve with a side of fresh fruit.

Serves 2 serious hash lovers.

Note that the medium high temperature is maintained in order to get this hash nice and crispy. If it starts to look like it's burning more than crisping, reduce the heat to medium for the remainder of the time. And if you like your hash a little less crispy, just turn down the heat to medium once the potatoes are fried and cook the hash until it's the consistency you like.

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish (or even one that isn't), I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email lahuerita2@gmail.com (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)