Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Beef hash

I had a rare chance to listen to the Food Guy and Marcy radio show Sunday afternoon, hosted by Food Network chef Guy "Guido" Fieri and Marcy Smothers, wife of Tom Smothers. To preview to St. Patrick's Day food festivities, the hosts talked about their favorite corned beef and cabbage recipes.

Somewhere in the hour, Fieri explained how he makes corned beef hash. His basic formula is a 1:1 ratio of beef to potatoes. Other than onions, garlic and seasonings, Fieri keeps the recipe simple.

This prompted me to think about preparing beef hash for dinner. With a leftover beef tritip roast in the refrigerator, I cook an un-corned beef version of classic hash last night.

I ground the beef, potatoes and onion together in an old Climax No. 50 cast iron meat grinder. Other than salt and pepper, that was the recipe. The best part of eating the classic dish of beef hash are the accompanying poached eggs, catsup and hot sauce.

A note of caution: Don't grind the ingredients too fine as I did. This particular model doesn't have a blade to cut small chunks off small chunks of meat as the auger pushes it through grinding plate.

Although the meat didn't fare well as hoped, the dish was still good. Perfectly ground potatoes and onions had a way of canceling out the stringy beef. The hash was full of flavor. (And the leftovers were even better Wednesday morning!)

A medium or coarse grinding plate produces a coarser hash. Ideally, use a plate with 1/4- or 3/8-inch holes. In fact, supermarket butchers commonly use a 3/8-inch grinding plate to make chili grind.

If you can, use a meat grinder that has a grinder blade that's mounted outside the plate. This cuts the meat into nice, even balls. Make sure the blade is sharp to for even, consistent cutting.

If you prefer, use my corned beef hash recipe from 2005. It gives you a chunkier texture. Substitute beef for corned beef if desired.


Vary ingredients to suit the tastes of your family. Replace some of the onion with green bell pepper or celery if desired.

Leftover beef roast
Potatoes, peeled if desired
Vegetable oil
Salt and black pepper
Dried thyme

Finley chop or grind beef, potatoes and onion in roughly equal portions into a bowl. Lightly season with salt and pepper and dried thyme. Toss to combine.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add several hands full of hash to the skillet and spread to level, about 1/2- to 3/4-inch deep. Work in batched for large amounts.

Brown hash, then turn with a spatula or flat spoon. Cook 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fully through and the hash is hot. Serve with catsup.

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