Cooking With Davena: Corned Beef Hash

By on 18 February, 2011 in Cooking, Davena McRae, Food with 1 Comment

photo by joyosity

Growing up as a kid, I was convinced that my father made the best corned beef hash on the planet. He would get the cast iron skillet smoking hot and separate the congealed hash from the can by running a knife between the two. He would then put a dollop (okay, maybe a quarter cup) of bacon grease in the pan and spoon out the hash. He was always careful to not disturb the hash much once he had pressed it into the edges of the skillet, so that the bottom would crisp perfectly. While heating the hash he would fry a couple of eggs, sunny side up, in a small, heavily used, severely scratched non-stick skillet. He would remove the pan from the heat and set the eggs aside while he flipped the hash and waited for the other side to crisp.

I was able to return the favor a few weeks ago when my father was hospitalized. On my way out of the hospital, I noticed a sign in the cafeteria that said the special that day was corned beef hash. Now, I was a bit skeptical that cafeteria corned beef hash could taste as good as my father’s Hormel Mary Kitchen Hash, but I decided to wait the seven minutes for the cafeteria to open and surprise him. During my dad’s hospital stay, he had lost a few pounds and I knew that the calories in the Ensure they were feeding him didn’t have anything on the breakfast we were about to share. When I returned to my father’s hospital room, he had fallen asleep. I left the hash, along with an Odwalla Superfood (you know, to counteract the cholesterol) and told the nurse that it was one of his favorite foods and asked if it was okay for him to have. She gave it her blessing since he wasn’t on a restricted diet and said she would let him know I had left it for him.

When I returned to Montgomery, I called my aunt to see if he had eaten his hash, she assured me that he had. This was the last meal that I would provide for my father. He lost his battle with his illness this morning. Dad, thanks for keeping my mind, heart and stomach full.

I hope you enjoy my version of my father’s beef hash.

  • ½ pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • ½ pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1.5 lbs left-over slow cooked chuck roast
  • ½ large, red onion ¼-inch diced
  • 1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water to cover until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain. Coarsely chop beef into small chunks.

Sauté onion and bell pepper in olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in beef and salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.

This dish is especially delicious served with eggs fried over easy, Tabasco and ketchup.

Davena McRae is a chef and cooking class instructor living in Montgomery, Alabama.  She is the mother of  three dogs and the wife of one man.

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  1. Jay Croft says:

    I am sorry to learn that your Dad passed away.

    Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon him.

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