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eG Cook-Off 58: Hash

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#31 Chris Amirault

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 04:08 PM

I use my findlay #10 cast iron pan which is very flat and smooth, and a wide bench scraper to scrape up and chop into the hash while cooking. It works amazingly well. Another option would be to buy a 3 inch wide putty knife at a hardware store. I had seen both used at diners to do flat top potates or hash and once I had tried it I haven't gone back to a spatula since.


I'm partial to this left-handed LamsonSharp fish spatula/turner, which has a sharp edge perfect for scraping up those tasty bits.

As for the hash itself, will be weighing in a bit down the road when I have leftover pastrami.
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#32 David Ross

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 04:54 PM

For "Hash #2," I started with a recipe for "Best Oven Hash" from the 1976 edition of the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook, (the classic over the years that has the red-checked cover enclosing pages bound with a three ring binder).

While the ingredients were the simple fixins of a hash--corned beef, potatoes, onion, parsley, worcestershire sauce--I totally changed my techniques from Hash #1. The beef was braised not roasted, the potatoes baked not boiled, and the ingredients were chopped/shredded in the food processor rather than diced by hand.

There was one ingredient in the recipe that mystified me--evaporated milk. I haven't used that stuff in years and the only reason I could think of using it in the hash would be to act as the "binder" to bring the meat and potatoes together, (similar to the brown gravy in Hash #1). I'd found hash recipes using cream, but not evaporated milk.

Again, simple ingredients but this time the focus was on technique-
Hash Cook-Off 040.JPG

I used a commercial corned beef. (I'll make my own corned beef in a few weeks in preparation for my annual St. Patrick's Day Rueben Sandwich). I braised the beef in Guiness Stout for about 8 hours. I knew the Guiness would give the beef a lot of flavor, and a bit of tang, but would it work in a hash with potatoes?

I let the meat rest and chill overnight in the fridge. Instead of dicing the meat this time, I used my double-bladed food processor to shred and chop the meat. The trick is to make sure you use very short, 3-4 second, pulses. Anything more will turn it into corned beef mush
Hash Cook-Off 042.JPG

Instead of boiling the potatoes, this time I roasted them in a 375 oven. These were big #1 Russet "baking potatoes" and so they took 1 1/2 hours. Baking the potatoes gives them a fuller, roasted flavor over boiled potatoes. I typically prepare potatoes this way in a dish called "Pommes de Terre Macaire." It's basically a baked potato that you chill overnight, then scoop out the flesh and saute it in butter. After the potatoes come out of the oven I let them sit to room temperature then into the fridge. Don't peel them, don't wrap them in plastic. Just let them sit overnight in the fridge to tighten up.

Again, instead of dicing the potato I processed them quickly in the food processor just to a shredded/minced stage. I typically don't use a food processor for any potato dish as it spins too fast and turns the starch in the potato to glue.
Hash Cook-Off 045.JPG

Here's the potato and corned beef mixed with minced onion, salt, pepper, parsley, a good dose of Worcestershire, and a 5oz. can of evaporated milk-
Hash Cook-Off 053.JPG

Because evaporated milk has about 60% of the water removed, it brought the hash together without being too runny. The hash was creamy in texture, but in the end you couldn't really discern any milk or dairy flavor.

This time I used a non-stick skillet rather than cast iron. And instead of lard for the oil, I used salted butter. I packed the hash into a 3" ring mold that's about 1 1/2" high and placed the ring mold on top of the melted butter in the skillet. It only took about 4-5 minutes per side to get the hash crispy and golden brown using the smaller size over the "whole skillet" hash #1.

While the hash was cooking I poached the eggs, again in the huge stockpot. I had made some hollandaise ahead of time and kept it warm over a pot of simmering water.

The final verdict on Hash #2? Excellent. The texture was more creamy and soft, yet you could still pickup individual bites of meat and potato. The Guiness added lots of flavor to the meat, and the hash would have been flat without the Worcestershire. Sauteeing in the ring mold was much easier to control when flipping the hash, and using a non-stick skillet was a breeze and crisped the hash much quicker than the cast iron skillet.

Of course, a poached egg seems to be required when serving hash because the runny yolk breaks into that crispy hash and creates another flavor element. Hollandaise isn't required, but that really sent Hash #2 over the top. I got requests from friends and family in Portland, Sacramento and Las Vegas for Corned Beef Hash when they saw the photos.

Hash Cook-Off 059.JPG

Hash Cook-Off 062.JPG

Anyone else out there use cream or evaporated milk in their hash?

#33 IndyRob

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 05:22 PM

Anyone else out there use cream or evaporated milk in their hash?


This is really my only experience with hash. 'Creamy Chicken Hash' which I got from a Good Housekeeping cookbook. Dead simple. Diced potato, seasoned and sauteed in oil. Then some cream, which is reduced and some diced cooked chicken added after the heat is turned off just to warm through.

It's good by itself, but strikes me as a sort of 'mother dish' to which many twists could be applied.

#34 David Ross

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 06:23 PM

I like the suggestions of adding trout or smoked fish as the meat element in a hash. You could stretch the boundaries of hash to include crab cakes. I follow the rules of the Pacific Northwest and exclusively use Dungeness crab bound by a bit of homemade mayonnaise and fresh bread crumbs, nothing else is typically included. But the addition of potato would of course make it a hash--and it would be delicious. Don't cod cakes and fish cakes include potatoes?

#35 Alcuin

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 07:14 PM

So I was thinking about how, while I admitted the idea of other kinds of hash like salmon or chicken or anything else, that it just didn't feel right. I associate hash with dark meat, like beef or duck. As a wise man once said, my thinking about this case has become very uptight.

In the course of this thought process, I started to run through other possibilities and many presented themselves. But this one stood out: ham and peppers hash.

So I started by browning some potatoes. I used russet, because I bought a bag of them that I plan to fry into potato chips tossed with Old Bay for the Superbowl tomorrow. (I live in the midwest, but grew up in PA where Herr's rules, and you can get the best potato chips: Herr's Old Bay chips). In any case, I like russets too. While I like the creamier, more fine-grained texture of less starchy potatoes, the russets have great flavor and have a meaty texture that works great in hash.

I've never had a problem browning potatoes in my cast iron skillet, but I use perhaps a generous amount of fat and this skillet is well seasoned. I would have used pre-cooked potatoes, because I agree that they are the best, but I didn't have any precooked. So here they are, cooking and browning at once in the cast iron:

hash 1.JPG

After I browned the potatoes a bit in butter, I added half a medium onion and salted. I browned the onions about half way, then I added slices of green and red bell pepper and seasoned a little to maintain seasoning equilibrium. I added the peppers later because while I wanted them to soften, I didn't want them to turn to mush. I wanted some texture left to the vegetable. After they started to cook, I added some diced smoked ham:

hash 2.JPG

At this point, I cooked a bit more until every thing was beginning to meld. Then I added some paprika (a decent amount in this case, maybe upwards of a teaspoon but I didn't measure). The key is to make sure not to cook the ham too much. Overcooked ham can become tough. I poached an egg to top, and garnished with some chives:

hash 3.JPG

And it was good. Of course it was, because ham, potatoes, and eggs are a pairing written into the fabric of our universe. And peppers are a great counterpoint to all three, and join forces with the smoke of the ham to tie the whole thing together.
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#36 Alcuin

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 07:18 PM

The final verdict on Hash #2? Excellent.


Wow David that's some impressive hash. I might have to give this a try. Looks like you took that recipe and spun some straw into gold there.
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#37 David Ross

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 07:25 PM


The final verdict on Hash #2? Excellent.


Wow David that's some impressive hash. I might have to give this a try. Looks like you took that recipe and spun some straw into gold there.

Thanks. I was just winging it, which sometimes leads to an exceptional dish. I just had this sense when I saw the corned beef and potatoes mixed together that this was going to turn out delicious. And when I corn my own beef in March I think it will be even better!

#38 LindaK

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 08:07 AM


Anyone else out there use cream or evaporated milk in their hash?


This is really my only experience with hash. 'Creamy Chicken Hash' which I got from a Good Housekeeping cookbook. Dead simple. Diced potato, seasoned and sauteed in oil. Then some cream, which is reduced and some diced cooked chicken added after the heat is turned off just to warm through.

It's good by itself, but strikes me as a sort of 'mother dish' to which many twists could be applied.


Same here. Cream.

I'm having trouble getting my head around the food processor shredded ingredient version of hash. The resulting texture is all wrong, and frankly it looks less than appealing. Hash is a derivative of "hacher" for a reason!


 


#39 Shelby

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 08:30 AM

My absolute favorite hash is sweet potato and pulled pork barbecue. I cube the sweet potatos, pan-fry them in a non-stick pan in about a quarter-inch of oil, so they make crispy little cubes; drain out the excess oil,throw in the barbecue, add some of my homemade barbecue rub/seasoning or a little pimenton de la vera, let it get crispy, flip, crisp that side, and plate it. And I top it with an over-easy egg.

Chicken hash isn't bad, either, with lots of black pepper and a creamy milk gravy.



This sounds wonderful and different.

#40 David Ross

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 09:11 AM



Anyone else out there use cream or evaporated milk in their hash?


This is really my only experience with hash. 'Creamy Chicken Hash' which I got from a Good Housekeeping cookbook. Dead simple. Diced potato, seasoned and sauteed in oil. Then some cream, which is reduced and some diced cooked chicken added after the heat is turned off just to warm through.

It's good by itself, but strikes me as a sort of 'mother dish' to which many twists could be applied.


Same here. Cream.

I'm having trouble getting my head around the food processor shredded ingredient version of hash. The resulting texture is all wrong, and frankly it looks less than appealing. Hash is a derivative of "hacher" for a reason!


Good points Linda--but I have to respectfully disagree. As I mentioned in my post, when using the food processor method, it's important to only pulse the meat and potatoes for a few seconds at a time so the hash doesn't turn into a paste. Does the mix look unappetizing in the photo? Maybe to some, but I wanted to demonstrate the difference in the textures over the "diced" hash.

In terms of the final side-by-side taste test of the two, Hash #2, (aka the food processor shredded/choppe style), was far better than the more traditional Hash #1 that was diced by hand. I preferred the creaminess of Hash #2 and the mouthfeel of the texture of the hash. For nostalgic reasons, the texture of Hash #2 reminded me of the hash I ate with my Grandfather at the Depot Cafe in Twin Falls, Idaho, in the 60's. I doubt the diner cooks at the Depot Cafe used a food processor, but their hash was definately of the shredded variety and not diced.

In the end, of course flavor must prevail and that's why I preferred Hash #2. It sounds like hash, while a dish of many different personalities, is the sort of dish that elicits a lot of personal preferences.

#41 kayb

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:58 AM

Of course, a poached egg seems to be required when serving hash because the runny yolk breaks into that crispy hash and creates another flavor element. Hollandaise isn't required, but that really sent Hash #2 over the top. I got requests from friends and family in Portland, Sacramento and Las Vegas for Corned Beef Hash when they saw the photos.

Hash Cook-Off 059.JPG

Hash Cook-Off 062.JPG

Anyone else out there use cream or evaporated milk in their hash?


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#42 David Ross

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 08:35 PM

Has anyone ever baked a hash? I've read some recipes where they call for spreading the hash in a casserole dish and baking it. I'm thinking you could bake it until it's hot, then make some indentations in the top and crack in some eggs, then return it to the oven to bake the eggs until set.

#43 LindaK

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 09:35 PM

David, I've baked hash as a way to gently reheat a large batch made in advance for a crowd. But the operative word is "reheat." To get hash the way I like it, it needs to be fried up in smaller batches first so that there are some crispy bits throughout. Then I generally put it into a large gratin pan to reheat later and for serving.

I can't speak to the egg question, though. In theory, I don't see why not. I usually reheat the hash at a low temp, not sure if that's the best temp for cooking eggs.


 


#44 Toliver

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 10:46 AM

My first Hash dish was based on traditional recipes and included leftover Holiday prime rib, potatoes and onions. I added some bottled gravy for moisture and seasoned the hash with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper...

I don't "grok" the the gravy. As you found out, you can't get crispy bits if it's all wet with gravy. I'd either 86 the gravy or add it (heated separately) just before serving/eating.

I also favor the leftover baked potatoes and always bake a couple extra to be used for home fries or hash the next morning. Refrigerating them gives them a nice waxy texture which makes for easy dicing and they still hold their shape in the skillet after frying.

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#45 Katie Meadow

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:33 AM

Okay, I'm inspired and I have just the proper leftovers/misc stuff in the fridge to make a perfect case for hash tomorrow. That would be frozen leftover ham from shanks, a few jalapenos, and a couple of potatoes, old enough so that I don't actually remember what kind they are; my guess is they are yukons. Going out and actually purchasing ingredients for hash seems to defeat the purpose.

I'm going to par-boil the potatoes, which I don't believe I've done in the past, and since I am planning to make the hash tomorrow it seems worthwhile to do the potatoes today and refrigerate them overnight. When should I throw in the onion if my potatoes are partially cooked (still firm I'm presuming) and cubed in smallish bite-size pieces? Which needs a head start, the potatoes or the onion if I want an overall crispy result?

And just to throw in another variable, instead of using my cast iron, I'm going to try using my newest Good Will find: a non-stick Sur la Table heavy duty fry pan that looks like it has never been cooked in. This is my first non-stick pan ever, and although the idea of buying a used non-stick pan is sort of revolting, this one looked so clean I sprang for it. And it was cheap. We'll see if I can produce a sufficiently crispy hash with this pan and pre-cooked potatoes. With eggs and some simple slaw this will be dinner.

#46 David Ross

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:46 AM


My first Hash dish was based on traditional recipes and included leftover Holiday prime rib, potatoes and onions. I added some bottled gravy for moisture and seasoned the hash with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper...

I don't "grok" the the gravy. As you found out, you can't get crispy bits if it's all wet with gravy. I'd either 86 the gravy or add it (heated separately) just before serving/eating.

I also favor the leftover baked potatoes and always bake a couple extra to be used for home fries or hash the next morning. Refrigerating them gives them a nice waxy texture which makes for easy dicing and they still hold their shape in the skillet after frying.

Yeah, I definately won't be glopping up the hash again with gravy. I found that I could make the hash moist through the way I cut it and then added milk, yet still got a crispy crust. I'll keep with that method.

#47 David Ross

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:50 AM

Okay, I'm inspired and I have just the proper leftovers/misc stuff in the fridge to make a perfect case for hash tomorrow. That would be frozen leftover ham from shanks, a few jalapenos, and a couple of potatoes, old enough so that I don't actually remember what kind they are; my guess is they are yukons. Going out and actually purchasing ingredients for hash seems to defeat the purpose.

I'm going to par-boil the potatoes, which I don't believe I've done in the past, and since I am planning to make the hash tomorrow it seems worthwhile to do the potatoes today and refrigerate them overnight. When should I throw in the onion if my potatoes are partially cooked (still firm I'm presuming) and cubed in smallish bite-size pieces? Which needs a head start, the potatoes or the onion if I want an overall crispy result?

And just to throw in another variable, instead of using my cast iron, I'm going to try using my newest Good Will find: a non-stick Sur la Table heavy duty fry pan that looks like it has never been cooked in. This is my first non-stick pan ever, and although the idea of buying a used non-stick pan is sort of revolting, this one looked so clean I sprang for it. And it was cheap. We'll see if I can produce a sufficiently crispy hash with this pan and pre-cooked potatoes. With eggs and some simple slaw this will be dinner.


Great question about the onion element. For my tastes I included the onion in the corned beef/potato mix and it worked fine. You don't get a caramelized onion taste or texture but it seasons the mixture. On the other hand, when I did the diced meat and potato hash I added the potato first to get it going and then added the onion later. I think if you are looking for a caramelized onion taste and texture you would add the onion first and let it go until it cooks down, remove it from the pan, add the potatoes to crisp and then add the onion back in. I think it all depends on the final flavor you're going for as to when you add the onions.

#48 Chris Amirault

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:04 PM

Reviewing the photos above, I realize that I have an irrational bias: I assert that hash must not be discrete chunks of stuff (a la Alcuin's version) but rather should be an amalgamation of meat, potato, onion, and so on (a la David Ross's version). One should be able to scoop up a forkful of hash and get a bit of each ingredient; one should not have to skewer items kebab-style.

Thus the role of potatoes as both brick and mortar is crucial: a proper hash has both large-ish, firmer chunks of potato and well-cooked, mashed-up binder flesh as well. If it's just big chunks, it ain't hash.

Anyone share this irrational bias?
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#49 Chris Hennes

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:25 PM

When I think of hash, I think of the stuff served in diners on the east coast, which is definitely more like David's second hash. The others are more like "home fries with stuff added." Not that that's a bad thing, it's just not how I think of hash.

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#50 slkinsey

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:39 PM

I think it depends, Chris. There's more than one kind of hash, in my opinion. There are hashes that are made with big pieces, and those made with small pieces. Some are dry and held together only loosely, and some are moist and bound. And a range of in-between those four poles.

Here's something I posted in a thread on crisping hash some years ago that may be relevant:

I think it depends on what kind of hash you're going for. Not all hash is supposed to be crispy. I call that a "dry hash" -- which says something not only about the final texture but also the way it's made.

Anyway, in my experience, the variables that need to be controlled in order to make a crispy hash are: high heat, don't crowd the pan, use a low-sided frypan so water has a chance to quickly evaporate (this is why it's easiest top do on a big commercial griddle), don't agitate the ingredients until they have had a chance to crisp, use a floury potato as opposed to a waxy potato, keep everything as dry as possible, cook the potatoes all alone until they're 3/4 of where you want them to end up. Do these things, and you should be able to get it crispy. Here is a dry crispy turkey hash in process:

Posted Image


If you want it to hold together in one mass, you could then pour all of that into a small skillet with some additional fat, crenk up the heat, toss in a little water to get the potato pieces to stick together, and cook it dry.

Personally, I've come to prefer the non-crispy kind of hash that is bound with a little cream (in this case, cream on the left and leftover creamed spinach on the right),

Posted Image


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#51 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 01:59 PM

Hash is the only way to get rid of the Thanksgiving turkey! Or Christmas leg of lamb or pork. Or the last days of a roast chicken. Anything goes, along with whatever leftover gravy or sauce there was.

I always add a splash of heavy cream at the end, turn up the heat and let it sear, then use a spatula to lift from the pan. No sticking in a cast iron pan.
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#52 Anna N

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:21 PM

Not a very good photo but I made duck hash according to this recipe. Very tasty.

DSCN0760.JPG
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#53 David Ross

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:22 PM

Well, it's becoming apparent to me that unlike some of the other dishes that we've discussed in previous Cook-Offs,( Bolognese Sauce and Cassoulet), that hash is more closely tied to personal tastes rather than regional or cultural traditions. That's not necessarily a bad thing but an interesting contrast that came to mind.

#54 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:48 PM

Perhaps, David, this is an outgrowth of the upscale brunch cafe, like Margaret Fox's Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino or Upstairs Cafe at Chez Panise, where things like hash and omelets took modern turns. Additions like artichokes and sunchokes, sweet potatoes, fennel, butternut squash. They all work. Ergo, most anything goes.

But sticking to tradition, let's not forget beets and the famous "red flannel hash" of New England.
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#55 David Ross

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:31 PM

Perhaps, David, this is an outgrowth of the upscale brunch cafe, like Margaret Fox's Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino or Upstairs Cafe at Chez Panise, where things like hash and omelets took modern turns. Additions like artichokes and sunchokes, sweet potatoes, fennel, butternut squash. They all work. Ergo, most anything goes.

But sticking to tradition, let's not forget beets and the famous "red flannel hash" of New England.

As a small child would say when confronted with anything with beets in it--yuck!

#56 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:47 PM

As a small child would say when confronted with anything with beets in it--yuck!


As a toddler, I was infamous for accepting a spoonful of beets then blowing them all over the kitchen.

Now, I love them. My husband had similar issues, but now is a convert, and our daughter-in-law finds them food of the gods.

It's called evolutionary progress. :laugh:

However, in corned or roast beef hash, they are a classic and stunning addition. Think rubies for breakfast.
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#57 Katie Meadow

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:00 PM

I come down on the side of "not too large" ingredients, but I don't like a big mush, either. So my potatoes usually get cut into very small cubes that hold together with other ingredients on the fork. No spearing involved, but also you wouldn't want to eat it with a spoon. I never heard of putting cream in hash, but it sounds good. I didn't grow up kosher by any stretch of the imagination, but nor did my parents ever pour dairy products into a pot full of meat.

"OMG what am I going to do with all this duck fat?" were words never spoken in my childhood. Too bad I didn't grow up on a farm in France. Then my mother might have learned to make a decent cassoulet and I would have been weaned on duck confit hash instead or corned beef from a can. (Yes, a can. I'm sure my dad never corned a beef in his life.) To add insult to injury, he also ate it with ketchup. And I don't mean catsup. Catsup is found on the rug before you take Snowball to the vet.

The whole idea of hash is to throw in whatever you think goes and whatever you need to use up, no? If all you've got is cows, spuds and onions, then that's your hash. My dad's corned beef hash was always exactly the same; he had plenty of rules for the four things he ever cooked and never improvised. His four things were good, but he would have been useless on a desert island. And he would have been horrified at the idea of red flannel hash. Beets are for borscht, aren't they?

#58 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:03 PM

...I never heard of putting cream in hash, but it sounds good. I didn't grow up kosher by any stretch of the imagination, but nor did my parents ever pour dairy products into a pot full of meat....

It's not at all uncommon, for instance...
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#59 Mjx

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 12:53 AM

Reviewing the photos above, I realize that I have an irrational bias: I assert that hash must not be discrete chunks of stuff (a la Alcuin's version) but rather should be an amalgamation of meat, potato, onion, and so on (a la David Ross's version). One should be able to scoop up a forkful of hash and get a bit of each ingredient; one should not have to skewer items kebab-style.

Thus the role of potatoes as both brick and mortar is crucial: a proper hash has both large-ish, firmer chunks of potato and well-cooked, mashed-up binder flesh as well. If it's just big chunks, it ain't hash.

Anyone share this irrational bias?



It kind of makes sense, although I don't have any personal bias at all; I've never had hash (although I've had biksemad), not even sure I've ever even looked at any before this, and am likely to make a hash that is at least small, partly discrete chunks of meat and... well, hokkaido.
Although I'm telling myself that without potatoes, it's not really hash, so I can't include my version here, if it has no potato (but... there's also the argument that the basic hash premise involves the using-up of odds and ends of meat and starch). and I love potatoes. On the other hand, if I make it with potatoes, I'm going to be in pretty poor shape after I eat it, and hokkaido as somewhat 'potato-y' texture, so I'm tossing this back and forth in my mind.

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#60 Alcuin

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 09:08 AM

I guess it depends on what you like out of something that's "hashed." I love hashed brussels sprouts, but I don't grind them down to a fine grain with an hachoir either like some people do when they hash sprouts. I put them in the food processor using the slicing blade and get nice fine slices, fine enough for me to call it hash but not so fine that it becomes mush. But this gets us into the hazy territory about the relationship between the noun "hash" and the verb "to hash." I'm unsure of how close they should be really.

There's a good range of sizes, depending on what you want to do. I think if I wanted hash to be a side dish, or just one element of a breakfast plate, I'd want it mushier. If it's center stage, I want it meatier. Maybe I'll have to try that same dish (or something similar) in a finer grain and see which one I like best though...
nunc est bibendum...





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Cookoff