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