Corned beef hash

In the early 1990s, I tried to become a vegetarian. My motives, and there were two of them, were hardly noble. They were in order, a woman and another woman. Over the course of two years, I ended up in relationships with first a vegetarian and then a vegan (not at the same time of course). Dating a vegetarian, if you love meat, can be hell. While I empathized with my then girlfriend’s lifestyle choices, I didn’t really want to follow her path. But, like all young and foolish men, I decided that I’d rather suffer for love than be single. As time passed, I found a happy middle ground. Instead of becoming a full-fledged leaf eater, I simply abstained from eating any and all red meat. I also began to read books on animal rights, nutrition and other topics that advocated for and supported a meat-free diet. Several texts in particular, such as Diet for a New America, by John Robbins, encouraged me to stick to this diet even after my relationship with the vegetarian ended.

One year later, I found myself involved with a vegan. She was a gorgeous, slightly mad, energetic, and brilliant gal. It was, to be honest, one of the shortest relationships of my life but at the same time one of the most intense. When we parted ways, I was devastated. Strangely enough, one of my very first reactions to this break-up was to call up a buddy of mine and see if he wanted to grab breakfast. More specifically, I called up a reactionary, hippie-hating and overtly carnivorous friend and said, “Dude, C and I broke up. Wanna eat some meat?” He was, of course, only deliriously happy to join me and watch me eat the first red meat meal I’d had in over two years. We met up at a small cafe and I ordered one of my all-time favourite foods, something I had been missing and craving for years, corned beef hash.

It was delicious. But what I didn’t count on was that after a couple of years of not eating red meat, my body was a little less than prepared to process the sudden inhalation of such a delicious but unhealthy and by then unfamiliar meal. While I enjoyed every angry and self-pitying bite, my body rebelled. I got sick… “technicolor yawn” sick. Thankfully, my second carnivorous meal went better, and within a few days, I was a healthy, happy omnivore.

Corned beef hash, despite that very memorable breakfast back in 1994, remains one of my favourite breakfast dishes. It’s a wonderfully comforting dish and when prepared from scratch and served with a poached or fried egg, near unbeatable on a brunch menu. The following recipe is fantastically easy. Given that you’ve sourced good quality ingredients, it can help you prepare a really delicious corned beef hash that your friends and loved ones will love.

Corned Beef Hash
Serves 8

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion
750g corned beef
500g potatoes
200ml beef or veal stock
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste

I buy my corned beef from Swiss Butchery. If you can’t find a good quality corned beef, do not substitute with the canned stuff. You could, instead, try making it yourself.

Finely dice your corned beef and your onion. Peel your potatoes and either steam or boil them until fairly firm. Then dice these too.

Heat the oil and butter in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute your onions until soft. Then mix in the potatoes, beef, stock, creme fraiche, mustard, sugar and worcestershire sauce. Add pepper and salt to taste. Note that as the corned beef hash cooks, it will become a little more savoury, so go easy with the salt. Lower the heat and cover your pan. Let cook for 5 minutes, uncover, stir and cover again for another 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and cook uncovered until all the liquid has evaporated or has been absorbed, stirring every minute or so. Then raise the heat to medium-high and cook until crusts begin to form on the hash. Stir, frying various parts of the hash to your own preference. I like mine quite crusty.

I enjoy serving my corned beef hash over toast and topped with either a fried or poached egg.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

28 comments on “Corned beef hash
  1. Well, Chubby, as a 65-year-old Ph.D. who is a devoted aficionado of Corned Beef Hash, the goddess Google led me to your post (although I am in a time warp . . . your post is dated Oct. 1st, but here in Maryland it is still Sept. 30th (“forget’ about it”, in the jargon of the Yankee immigrants).

    Anyway, as an obvious young whippersnapper, bordering upon being a “yuppie”, you may be spoiled enough to disdain “canned corn beef.”

    And so be it.

    But we “boomers” . . . survivors of the “great depression”, the “great war”, the great “whatever” . . . sometimes had to incorporate the evil “CANNED corn beef” into our beloved hash.

    AND, it was still pretty damned good.

    On the other hand, I am fairly expert at corning my own brisket, and THEN using a small part of it to prepare culinarily orgasmic “Corned Beef Hash” for my lovely young wife.

    AND, as a young Southen’ filly, she seems to thoroughly enjoy the exquisite dish . . . topped with a perfectly poached egg.

    Great website, by the way.

    P.S. I am the guy who has been kicked off (and banned) from nearly EVERY “respectable” food website on the net (including “Serious Eats”, “RoadFood.com” and other “politically-correct” groups of self-aggrandizing food-critic-wannabes).

  2. I could never become a vegetarian or (even worse) a vegan as I love meat too much, although I never have it on a daily basis!
    That hash looks wonderful! A gorgeous way to start the day…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. Mmmm I love corned beef hash. I’m married to a vegetarian who was a vegan when we met. It definitely is hard to stick to your omnivore guns but I’ve found that I’ve adopted many of his ethics, cut down my meat and dairy consumption, started buying all of my meat from organic and sustainable non agribusiness farms. And he has begun to relax a bit. So it can work out.

  4. Maybe a stupid question, but do you start with your beef cooked or no? (I’ve only ever made hash with leftovers already cooked.)

  5. I love both “fresh” and canned corned beef, but I’ve never had hash that looked this good! I think I may try it (hafta find a good deli though).
    Here in the Philippines, rice is the way to go with corned beef. I wonder if anyone in the States does the same.

  6. Im inclined to thing your first meal, the one that missed your stomach all together, was a greasy spoon moment. A meal like that is a potential intestinal battleground at any place unless the kitchen is clean and the cooks professional about the prep.
    Anyways, yay for Hash :9 When I tire of the occasional canned version Ill look you up :).

  7. CH: Wow! I never would have guessed that someone with such a Passion For Pork was once a vegetarian:). Clearly those relationships weren’t meant to be, as I gather S is as meat-loving as you are. Your hash looks mouth watering.

  8. Your story sounds as uncomfortably familiar to me as your recipe sounds delicious. I have gone through a similar experience. But I think I’ll try the recipe, enjoying it will undoubtedly recall some unforgettable memories.

  9. DocChuck: Canned corned beef hash can be damned satisfying at times. I was simply advocating that when making the whole thing yourself, try your best to find fresh corned beef. Thanks for dropping in.

    Fred: More potatoes? And bacon? I must be getting old because that sounds scary. I’m thinking roasted tomatoes. And coffee.

    Rosa: Thanks. As I said, young men do foolish things for the women we lust after.

    Kyla: It’s great that you’ve reached a happy compromise. I have to say the time I was off-meat was interesting… and according to my doctors then, I was the healthiest I had ever been in my life.

    Vicki: I use corned beef, which is cooked. If you want to make it, there are many great recipes for doing it yourself. You can also use brisket but the taste is a little different. Because I have a great butcher, I can get good quality corned beef, which I then dice at home.

    Robyn: I hear ya!

    Manggy: Thanks! Rice eh? I noticed that another blogger served hers that way. I’ll have to try it.

    Lone: You could be right. But the cafe was reputable and I’d never gotten sick there before or after. Thanks for dropping by.

    Tokyoastrogirl: Thankfully, S is a ravenous and enthusiastic omnivore :-)

    Dr Biggles: I love my Kramer. Sometimes, I just hold it. It really is a gorgeous knife, and worth every penny.

    Michael: I hope I didn’t bring back any unhappy memories. 😉 I hope you enjoy the hash if and when you make it.

  10. I think Bourdain summarizes vegetarians best: “Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.”

  11. my goodness the very orange yolk running down that heap of hash looks really enticing. i had no idea singaporean egg yolks were that orange!

    Bourdain’s comment seems to be needlessly harsh, but i suppose that’s just typical of him. it’s nice that you shared your own story with the post. just wondering: so after all the reading you did about animals did you arrive at a conclusion?

  12. Wow… this looks delish. Corned beef hash is one of those dishes that I really don’t consider making because I would always just want to order it from my fave greasy spoon. This looks FABU! Thanks for the post!! Amy @ neverfull.wordpress.com

  13. I think we’ve all made fools of ourselves for love. Some of the hottest women I know are vegetarians or vegans. Of course, I also know some pretty hot carnivores. In any case, when you’re young and in lust (C’mon, we’re guys. Love comes later.), you can find yourself doing all sorts of odd things for a woman. I’d tell you about the time I dated a Mormon gal, but I swore I’d never tell anyone about those few months. =)

    The poached egg is what takes this hash over the top and elevated it to the rank of master work.

  14. Hi there! I am a vegetarian but my husband is a meat-eater. I don’t eat meats but I still cook my husband meats although I never taste it–rely on the recipe. When are you going to post new vegetarian-friendly recipes? Looking forward to it! And btw, I love your blog!!

  15. There were times , after a meat fest on the weekends, when I felt I cannot eat any form of red meat again. But the carnivore in me cannot be suppressed much. After two days , I’m craving a steak or a piece of crispified pork belly again. Ah, what a hearty breakfast that corn beef hash looks like!

  16. Disarm: Hah, great quotation. Tony really doesn’t take prisoners, eh?

    Gwenda: Thanks. I was really happy with that picture. I love the pool of yolk building on the plate. We did use pretty fresh eggs, hence the color. As for my stance on animal rights, meat, etc, I’ll save that for another post or maybe a less public forum.

    Amy: I still do love ordering at good diners, but sadly, we have few of those here. Which is partly why I make my own. Plus, if I do it myself, I know exactly what goes into it.

    C: Thanks so much!

    Sylvia: Thank you.

    Libertine: Hah… hash for brekkie and salmon for dinner would be the way I’d go.

    Chubbypanda: Oh… this I have to hear. I didn’t mention that the reason the vegan broke up with me was because she had a religious epiphany.

    Lita: Well, I do have a mushroom pasta that’s damn tasty somewhere in my archives… 😉

    Veron: Yah, I do that too sometimes. But like you, I inevitably and after a short fast, dig right back in.

  17. Most blogs now have a special system to block my husband, a retired “educator” with a PhD and too much time on his hands.

    He has gone on a diet that forbids all carbohydrates. He subsists mainly on canned ham and his beloved Velveeta cheese. But, after reading this article, he has requested that I remove the potatoes from his Mary Kitchen canned hash. Takes a while, but my man is worth it!

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