Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Red Flannel Hash

It's kind of amazing that I've never made this before, because it combines two of my favorite foods - corned beef hash, and beets! This is the perfect way to make corned beef hash somewhat good for you, the perfect excuse to write about corned beef hash on the veggie blog, the perfect thing to eat with a tasty fresh egg from our own chickens, and just basically the perfect breakfast... yeah, I'm pretty excited.


Corned beef is thusly known because of the corn-kernel sized salt grains originally used to preserve it, although now it's actually brined instead. It's also known in England as salt beef. The red color comes from nitrites (not nitrates - see this reference). You'll often find two different cuts of corned beef available in stores - flat cut is leaner, while point cut is fattier, more flavorful, and cheaper. Someday I'd like to try corning my own beef, as described in one of my favorite cookbooks (Preserved, by Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton), or on this awesome blog. It's usually boiled, but this time I tried baking it and it turned out even better!

1 package corned beef brisket
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup diced beets
1 medium onion
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Freshly ground pepper

Remove the corned beef from its packaging and lay it, fat side up, on a piece of foil large enough to fold over and seal the whole brisket inside. Set the whole packet in a baking dish and bake at 300F for 3-4 hours. Open up the foil and broil it for a few minutes, until the top is sizzling and lightly browned. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting. For the hash, you'll want about 2 cups of 1/2-inch cubes. You certainly don't need a whole brisket to make this hash, so save the rest for sandwiches or serve with cabbage.

Put the beets in a microwave-safe bowl, cover tightly, and cook on high for 8 minutes. Microwave the potatoes separately in the same way, for 5 minutes. Heat oil in a large skillet, add the beef, potatoes, beets and onions, turning to coat them evenly with oil. Cook on medium-high without turning for 5-10 minutes, or until everything is nicely browned on the bottom. Stir to flip most pieces, and cook 5 minutes more without stirring. Add parsley and pepper, stir once more, turn heat down to medium-low and cook 5 minutes more. Serve with a poached or fried egg, buttered toast, and hot coffee - my ideal breakfast! 
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