Count this column as a victory for the widespread man, a two fingers up on the powers that be – an achievement akin to the scrapping of the proposed pasty tax. Not everybody on the Guardian was satisfied I ought to sink my enamel into the common-or-garden corned beef hash, however hardly had I bulldozed the thought previous them than, fairly out of the blue, I obtained a plaintive tweet requesting that I “settle the mash v fried potatoes battle as soon as and for all”. Thanks, Bjam! The cheque is within the submit.
To be sincere, I too was a late convert to the fun of this supremely satisfying dish. I can confidently say I didn’t contact corned beef from the age of 13 till my mid-20s, a legacy of the teatime selections in school in my adolescence. To say a corned beef roll was the lesser of the 2 evils can solely be understood when you understand that the one different alternative was luncheon meat, Spam’s much less glamorous cousin. I’d had my fill for all times – or so I assumed, till an ex launched me, kicking and screaming, to the corned beef hash. It was love at first chew. However how on earth do you’re employed such magic on a tin of beef?
Staunch traditionalists might need to skip this paragraph and simply assume that Prince’s received out. However the factor is, although tinned corned beef is actually the most cost effective possibility, it’s not the perfect. OK, a hash is an effective option to flip the stuff from edible to surprisingly scrumptious, however in a side-by-side take a look at with the British corned beef bought alongside different cured meats in a sure well-known grocery store, it didn’t come off nicely. To be sincere, it tasted fairly fusty, of salt and fats fairly than beef. (And if that’s what you want, attempt, if doable, to test the sourcing earlier than shopping for: tinned corned beef has been linked with a number of meals scandals lately, from the horsemeat affair to the deforestation of the Amazon.)
Gary Rhodes goes one step additional, and provides a wonderful recipe for corned beef in his e book The Full Rhodes Round Britain. He writes that though “it’s available for everybody, it’s so good to eat it do-it-yourself”. As he says, it’s surprisingly easy: I purchase a big piece of flank, soak it in brine for 3 days, then simmer till tender. A pig’s trotter in the identical pan provides the gelatine wanted to bind the meat collectively as soon as chopped, and I then go away it to set in a single day earlier than slicing into corned beef that’s distinctly juicier and beefier than its commercially made counterpart. Clearly this isn’t possible for a fast supper, however I’d extremely suggest giving it a go when you have the time and assets. A warning: as a result of it hasn’t been compressed right into a tin, my do-it-yourself stuff melts within the pan, lubricating the opposite elements with its jelly and leaving strands of scrumptious salty beef, which crisp up gratifyingly within the warmth. I choose this to the neat little cubes steered in recipes akin to Delia Smith’s, however others might not.
Onions are a should – the one recipe I attempt that omits them is the salt beef hash dish I’ve tailored from Dan Doherty’s Duck and Waffle cookbook, which makes use of confit shallots as a substitute. Scrumptious, however far too fancy for such a easy dish at house. I just like the onions thinly sliced, as Rhodes and Delia Smith suggest, fairly than chopped, in order that they don’t get misplaced, and barely caramelised so as to add sweetness, fairly than merely softened.
Potatoes are the opposite necessary ingredient. Smith clues me into the actual fact there are two corned beef hashes divided by a typical language when she writes: “I really like New York and, specifically, New York delis, the place I all the time order a scorching pastrami sandwich on rye bread and my husband all the time orders corned beef hash with a fried egg. Though we don’t have the identical sort of corned beef right here, our humble, modest tinned model makes a imply outdated hash.” I realise that what she, Doherty and Rhodes are making is what Rhodes certainly describes as “an American corned beef hash”, the place all of the elements are fried arduous till crisp, a therapy that calls for a strong, waxy potato such Doherty’s new selection, or Smith’s desiree or king edward.
Very beautiful they’re too, however the corned beef hash I’m used to has a softer, wetter texture, and is healthier made with a floury selection. I’d cease wanting the mash steered by Tom Norrington-Davies in his e book Simply Like Mom Used to Make, except you’ve obtained some you should eliminate. Including it in chunks provides the hash a extra attention-grabbing texture, particularly when you go away the pores and skin on, as Smith suggests.
Among the finest suggestions I get is from a stunning little e book of recipes printed in tribute to my canine coach’s nanna Sheila, which features a facsimile of the recipe in query, “actual Newcastle consolation meals”, written out by the girl herself. As a substitute of precooking the potatoes, as everybody else suggests, Sheila provides them to the pan uncooked, then simmers them in beef inventory till tender. It’s a good thought – they soak up the inventory to change into deliciously wealthy and splendidly beefy. Sheila, I take my woolly hat off to you.
Norrington-Davies provides tinned tomatoes and peas to his dish, explaining that the latter was “a peculiarity of my father’s … the sweetness cuts by means of the saltiness of this meat very properly”. I like each additions, the tomatoes bringing just a little fruity acidity and the peas, as he says, balancing the savoury meat, however the tomatoes flip it into one other dish totally. The peas, although welcome, are actually not obligatory for an honest hash, but when, like me, you’d wish to introduce a inexperienced factor, I’d suggest chucking in a handful.
Seasoning and additions
Smith marinates her corned beef chunks in a piquant combination of wholegrain mustard and Worcestershire sauce, each of which make a wonderful counterpoint to the tasteless potato and fatty meat. Norrington-Davies’s Tabasco is one other high quality addition when you’d like a contact of spice – I usually slosh it on the aspect. Doherty serves his hash with gherkins (which once more minimize by means of the fattiness properly), and he and Smith prime their hashes with a fried egg, with Doherty including his customary dollop of hollandaise.
There isn’t a arguing with the truth that the latter two gadgets enhance nearly every part they contact, however I’d save the hollandaise for a particular corned beef hash event, and the egg for these moments if you’re actually, actually hungry. Strictly talking, the dish wants neither, although the egg yolk does provide a sure pleasingly gooey richness. That stated, Norrington-Davies and Doherty perspicaciously observe that corned beef hash makes a wonderful brunch dish (nicely, Doherty writes that it’s “the type of meals we now have discovered folks are likely to search for across the 4am mark, but it surely additionally works as a post-sleep remedy”), which will be the time if you begin to solid round for the eggs and butter. Sheila serves hers with baked beans – a traditional presentation.
Sheila, Doherty and Norrington-Davies all end their dishes off within the oven or below the grill, giving them a deliciously crisp, golden prime. This offers a stunning distinction, in Sheila’s case, with the juicy, tender potatoes beneath, and is nicely value an additional 5 minutes’ wait. Use this time to prepared the ketchup.
Beneficiant knob of butter
1 massive onion, finely sliced
1 massive (about 275-300g) floury potato, akin to maris piper, unpeeled however minimize into 1cm chunks
350ml scorching beef inventory
200g corned beef, minimize into 1cm chunks
100g peas (non-compulsory)
1 tbsp grain mustard (or to style)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or to style)
2 eggs (non-compulsory)
Soften the butter in a frying pan over a medium-high warmth. Fry the onion, stirring regularly, till golden, then add the potatoes. Stir to coat with butter, cook dinner for a minute or so, then pour within the inventory. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes till the potatoes are actually tender and the inventory has nearly evaporated, including extra scorching water if obligatory.
Warmth the grill. Stir within the corned beef, peas, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Flip up the warmth and cook dinner, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, till they’re heated by means of. Put the pan below the grill for about 5 minutes till the highest is crisp and golden.
In the meantime, when you’re topping the dish with eggs, warmth a small frying pan, add just a little extra butter and fry the eggs to your liking. Serve on prime of the hash.
Corned beef hash: better of British or the worst school-dinner stodge? Would you defend tinned corned beef to the demise, or are you tempted to make your individual? And are there some other household favourites you’d like me to sort out?