#0017: Making A Hash Of It
Updated: Jun 2
Everyone has their guilty food pleasure. Fish finger sandwiches. Deep fried Mars bars.
Mine is corned beef.
I'm not sure exactly where the love affair stemmed from. Perhaps it's the texture? More likely, it's the odd little tins it comes in.
My grandparents had an amazing larder under the stairs of their terraced house. I clearly remember, as a child, fighting back the urge to open the tins of corned beef using the little keys.
Who can resist a little key?
My parents would cook corned beef hash for us when I was small. They made it in the pressure cooker. It tasted great and was probably really nutritious for us growing kids, but it was soft and it was wet, and there was little to distinguish the meat from the potatoes.
For years after I left home, I never thought of it again. Then, during a visit to the States, I saw corned beef hash on a menu and, driven by nostalgia, I gave it a go.
It was a revelation.
I didn't need a spoon.
I did need to chew.
Since then, corned beef hash has become a go-to comfort food.
Here's how I do it.
Start by mixing two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce with a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard. Chop a 340g tin of corned beef into bite sized chunks and gently stir it into the mixture so that it's evenly covered. Give it a good sprinkle of semolina, stir it again, and leave it to rest.
Chop 250g of new potatoes into bite sized chunks and bring to the boil in salted water. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for about five minutes. Once the potatoes are just turning soft, take the pan off the heat and drain off the water.
Whilst the potatoes are cooking, roughly chop an onion and fry it in an oven-proof pan, on a medium to high heat, until it turns golden brown. Add the drained potatoes and keep everything moving so it doesn't burn.
Once the potatoes are starting to brown, throw in a small, roughly chopped handful of fresh sage and cook for another minute or two, then add the corned beef.
Again, keep everything moving and continue to fry for about five minutes, until everything is cooked through and the corned beef is browned.
Next, make a small well in the centre of the pan and crack an egg into it. Transfer the pan to a pre-heated oven at about 200°C for about ten minutes, until the egg white is cooked through and everything else is starting to crisp, then serve immediately with some fresh greens.
It's quick. It's easy. It's seriously satisfying.