Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Fat Guy

Hash, the extended remix

Recommended Posts

The confluence of several at-first-seemingly unrelated events and trains of thought combined into a lunch today that was so delicious it caused me to sleep all afternoon.

I had been re-reading James Villas's wonderful book American Taste: A celebration of gastronomy coast-to-coast, published in 1982. It's still available as part of the “Cook's Classic Library.” In the book, Villas waxes rhapsodic about everything from fried chicken and hamburgers to lobster and pate. The amazing thing about the book is how thoroughly modern it is even after more than two decades: there's nothing I've seen in print since American Taste that really adds anything to Villas's canonical discussions of these classic American foods.

Particularly enjoyable is Villas's chapter on hash. Now, I've always been a lover of hash, but Villas's passion for and knowledge about hash make me feel like a dabbler. The hash I've always made for myself, which I think is pretty darn good and which on a good day represents the rewards of years of practice, consists of potatoes, onions, and some kind of meat, maybe bound together with a little cream and topped with a poached egg. For Villas, this is only the beginning. He views hash from a much higher conceptual perch. To him, hash isn't just something you do with whatever leftovers happen to be around; it's as premeditated as first-degree murder -- it's the reason you cook more of something in the first place.

Villas draws international parallels between hash and everything from frittatas to shepherd's pies, and explores regional American hash variants from scrapple to cod cakes. His view of hash is quite broad, even including dishes with no potatoes or onions at all: “In most people's minds, hash automatically implies the inclusion of chopped potatoes and onions, and no doubt these two items contribute much to its basic character. On the other hand, I've had delicious hashes in which the main ingredient was enhanced by everything from rice to diced sausage to hard-boiled egg, and some of the most memorable examples I've sampled were made with no more than a well-seasoned chunky main ingredient bound with a luscious sauce.”

This brings us to last night, when my neighbor -- bound for Australia today -- ordered dinner from Daisy May's BBQ USA here in New York City. If you want to get Daisy May's to schlep your food over from Midtown West to the Upper East Side, you have to order something like $50 worth of food. It's nice to be affluent in a situation like that, and it's also nice to have affluent neighbors. I was presented with a bag containing about 10 pounds of leftover barbecued pork ribs, beef ribs, and chicken, of which I ate about 9 pounds last night. What I didn't eat was the chicken.

I don't really get barbecued chicken. It's just not fatty or collagen-rich enough to hold up to low-and-slow dry-heat cooking on a pit. I guess there's a demand for it, since most every barbecue place -- even the die-hard traditional places in the Carolinas, Memphis, etc. -- sells it, but I think it's not particularly worthwhile. The big Daisy May's order also came with quite a few side dishes, including dirty rice and creamed corn.

Today for lunch I decided to make a chicken-salad sandwich or two, so I picked the meat off the pieces of chicken, after which I realized I didn't have any bread (this sort of thing happens to me all the time; I believe there's a warrant out for me for “crimes against mise-en-place”). No problem, I thought, I'll make hash. Except I had no potatoes, not to mention no cream. Okay, so what does one do with a pile of picked leftover somewhat dry chicken?

Eventually, my natural denseness gave way to my short-term memory of Villas's exegesis on hash, and it occurred to me that I could make hash with “ no more than a well-seasoned chunky main ingredient bound with a luscious sauce.” Then I said, wait a second, James Villas has had “delicious hashes in which the main ingredient was enhanced by everything from rice to diced sausage to hard-boiled egg.” And I have rice, in the form of dirty rice, in my refrigerator. And isn't there cream in creamed corn, I asked myself? I bet if I throw some of that in it will act as a cream-like binder.

I moistened the leftover rice with some chicken stock (I always keep ice-cube-sized chunks of stock in a bag in the freezer) and sauteed it in some butter until it came back to life, then I added the chicken and the corn – plus a little fresh tarragon I had lying around – to heat through.

The creamed corn actually achieved the desired result in part, but the problem was that to get the full reaction I'd have needed to go way out of proportion with the corn. What I really needed was just a little bit of extra cream. At which point it occurred to me that, in the back of my refrigerator, in the iSi Profi-Whip, I had some whipped cream from last week when I made a peach cobbler. Can you use whipped cream instead of cream? Why not, I figured – after all I just had a crawfish dish prepared by Christian Delouvrier in which he used whipped cream to finish a sauce. So I squirted a tiny bit of whipped cream into the skillet and, voila, the whole thing came together as hash. A little salt and pepper adjustment to wake up the latent flavors, plus two poached eggs broken and oozing throughout, and I'll be damned if it wasn't the best hash I've ever had.

The nap was good too.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got one of Mr. Villas" books--my mothers southern kitchen--where he's got a hash of ham and sweetpotatos.I think it is more about his momma(martha pearl) than anything else, but it sure cooks up fine!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. I have not read that Villas book. Hashes that I have had (and made) here in Texas and those made by the cooks I know, do not use any cream or other sauce type component. They are more of the "crispy bits" variety, potato and onion being a common denominator. Anything else goes.

One of the revelations on hash, that I read here somewhere, was to put the potato and onion and whatever on one side of the skillet and the diced meat on the other. That way, the steam from the potato and onion didn't inhibit the crusting of the meat. Then you can slide the skillet off to one side of the burner to crisp up the potato and onion a bit more without overdoing the meat. Then you finally mix it all together.

The best hash I ever made was with smoked pork butt, diced onion and potato, diced poblano, jalepeno and some other pepper, all cooked in bacon grease. Wowser.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmmm. The only "hash" I have ever eaten involved Ritz crackers and evaporated milk.


Rachel Sincere

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jpdchef, the recipe for hash of ham and sweet potatoes (with pickled peaches) is also in the "Upgrading Hash" chapter of American Appetite.

Fifi, I usually make hash without any sort of cream or sauce but I've got to admit it makes for a better dish. Lately I've been adding cream more often, and in other ways I've been gravitating towards Villas's methods without knowing it. To wit, Villas believes that the main ingredient should predominate. That sounds tautological, but I've had a lot of such-and-such hash where the such-and-such was more like a garnish for what was essentially home fries. In terms of crispy bits, Villas also talks about using the oven and broiler instead of sauteeing -- this can create crispness without drying or overcooking. I haven't experimented but plan to.

Jason, one authority Villas cites for non-potato hash is the chicken hash historically served at "21." This has chicken, red bell peppers, and peas but no potatoes or onions. I wonder if they still serve it there; I'd like to try it if they do.

Edit: The chicken hash or a variant seems to be on the "21" lunch menu: "Creamy Chicken Hash with baby spinach and toast $35.00"


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a sudden craving for corned beef hash last week.

Hadn't had it for years, then suddenly had to have it. Now.

So I did :biggrin:

I am a big hash fan, I agree with the principle that potatoes aren't completely essential (Although 90% of the time they are what you need), but I do think some sort of carb is important.

I sometimes make a sort of hash with chorizo, onions and beans - let some of the beans mash down to form the crust.

I'm confused by all this talk of cream though. Not in my hash there isn't.

I think the most important things, in ascending order are

  • Potatoes
  • Meat. Must be well flavoured - it should be there to add interest, and flavor the hash, not be the main ingredient. Cured meats work well.
  • Onions. Must be well caramelized
  • The crust. There is no joy in a pale hash. You need the interplay of textures.
  • Eggs. There has to be either fried or poached eggs.


I love animals.

They are delicious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had a sudden craving for corned beef hash last week.

Hadn't had it for years, then suddenly had to have it. Now.

So I did :biggrin:

my corned beef hash also features frozen peas, and a Worcestershire sauce jus :wink:. Onions, check; corned beef, check; potatoes, check; crusty bits, check; but eggs?? - nope.


Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those of you who don't use cream in your hash, next time you make the standard potatoes+onions+meat hash try adding, for a 10-11" skillet worth, about 1/4 cup of cream during the last few minutes of cooking. The cream itself seemingly disappears -- it's not really identifiable as such once it cooks in (at which point the hash is done) -- but it acts as a luscious binder.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had a sudden craving for corned beef hash last week.

Hadn't had it for years, then suddenly had to have it. Now.

So I did  :biggrin:

my corned beef hash also features frozen peas, and a Worcestershire sauce jus :wink:. Onions, check; corned beef, check; potatoes, check; crusty bits, check; but eggs?? - nope.

With you on the worcestershire sauce!

Next time, poach or fry an egg or two, and place on the finished article.

The runny yolk just completes the whole dish.


I love animals.

They are delicious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny, I just made some last week and I have not had them in many, many years. In addition to the corned beef, potatoes and onion, I add garlic and diced tomatoes. Serve with rice. Eggs? On the side would do.

N.


"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Those of you who don't use cream in your hash, next time you make the standard potatoes+onions+meat hash try adding, for a 10-11" skillet worth, about 1/4 cup of cream during the last few minutes of cooking. The cream itself seemingly disappears -- it's not really identifiable as such once it cooks in (at which point the hash is done) -- but it acts as a luscious binder.

I am definitely going to try this. I had actually never thought about doing anything like that. I cook with cream a lot and can see how it would work.

My kids always tease me about the fact that I think cream is one of the basic food groups. Next time I make a hash for them and add the cream, I can hear it now. "ACK! Another one of Mom's fat fests! Yippee!"

BTW... All of our cholesterol numbers are quite respectable, thank you.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next time, poach or fry an egg or two, and place on the finished article.

The runny yolk just completes the whole dish.

OH YEAH! This is a flavor and texture combo that I will ALWAYS love. But you forgot the fresh ground black pepper....it's the holy trinity; hash, runny egg yol, black pepper....


"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just love a good hash. I make one using half new red potatoes and half sweet potaoes, onions and diced country ham. Garnish with some Tabasco sauce and a spoonful of sour cream. Red flannel hash is tasty too- half beets, half potatoes, onions and lots of diced thick cut bacon fried all crispy...When I was a child my mother made roast beef hash that was so unloved by my sisters and I that when we sat down to eat and saw it we would just exchange pained expressions. She never got it even remotely crispy- instead it was slick with limp onions, heavy chunks of barely cooked potatoes and a few wads of unseasoned roast. But she and my father just loved it, and we three girls would suffer often!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So as it regularly goes here at my college apartment, we decided that it was time to scrub the kitchen down, (and by the kitchen I mean one frying pan) and make dinner.

Available to us was one pound of ground beef, onions, eggs, pototoes, and a vast array of sauces and condiments.

Jonathan, ex-rover at Trio, proposed a hash.

Pictures follow:

n902731_30291803_5686.jpg

n902731_30291804_5877.jpg

n902731_30291805_6045.jpg

n902731_30291806_6214.jpg

Delicious, as you can see.


Andrew Baber

True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' feet then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck

A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya?

The Gentleman Gourmand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh good grief! It has happened again! The great eGullet mystery prevails.

As I was waking up this morning, my mind was wrapping itself around the concept of hash for lunch. I have a chunk of the best beef chuck pot roast I have made in a long time. There are some red potatoes that were cooked with it. I have an onion. I was mulling over the finer points of cooking technique as I turned on the computer.

Voila! An older topic of hash has floated up to the top of Cooking. And I am grateful. I had forgotten about the cream idea. I actually don't have any cream. (How did that happen?) But I do have some Mexican crema so that will have to do.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After totally screwing up a gratin last night, I only had two small potatoes left, and I have this thing about never remembering to buy things until I'm actually out of them -- so if I didn't use the potatoes, I'd never remember to buy more.

So I made a corned ham hash, heavy on the onion and ham (and a little too salty for it, although it probably would have been fine if I hadn't fried it all in bacon fat), with a little homemade bacon, the potatoes, Louisiana hot sauce, and demiglace as the binder -- I was out of cream.

Very good. Very easy. Why on Earth have I been bothering with the canned stuff? Other than the occasional red flannel hash when I have leftover corned beef, and turkey hash after Thanksgiving, I can't remember ever making hash before.

The next time I buy skirt steak, I'm making ropa vieja so I can make hash with it -- like vaca frita with potatoes, the way I'm picturing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made the roast beef hash with some fresh onion, the potatoes that had cooked next to the pot roast and I included some of the mushroom slices. The one thing that I notices was that it takes some patience to get the browning that you want. Also, wanting to follow Fat Guy's idea of finishing with cream appealed to me. Since I didn't have any cream, I used a couple of tablespoons of Mexican Crema.

Voila! Beef Hash Stroganoff! Boy is it good.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...