[insert hash drug joke here]

27 Mar

My father, The Irreverent Reptile, is a whiz in the kitchen. He treats cooking like an art form, and will labor intensively over a dish all day to ensure it’s perfect.

I had some leftover steak lying around, and I knew that it was destined to become beef hash. My daddy has an amazing corned beef hash recipe (which really applies to any meat you want to use.) When I asked for his recipe, here’s the email response I received:

“As promised, corned beef hash. Read it all the way through, first:

Make corned beef for dinner. Just get a corned beef from Publix (it comes sealed, already spiced with pickling spices, and all one has to do is cook it, in water, simmering after it has boiled (and, covered) , with the spices and the rest of the stuff (cabbage, little potatoes, carrots, all that stuff that them Irish like) till it’s really tender; and it’s not an expensive cut of beef. A three or four pound cut will cost maybe six or eight bucks at most.). It wouldn’t hurt to by a bottle of pickling spices (in the spice section) and add just a little more; but, it isn’t necessary, and not too much. Eat dinner. Unless you want to use all of the corned beef for hash, in which event: fuck the cabbage, carrots, and potatoes, and just do the meat. Go to the next step.

While at Publix, in the cold potato section (usually, somewhere around dairy and milk and that stuff: it you can’t find it, ask) get a package of something called “Simply Potatoes,” but, there are three or four varieties. For this, one wants” “Cubed (maybe, “diced’) Potatoes with Onions.” Otherwise: take three baking potatoes (unless you like more potatoes in your hash, in which event, use another, or six, or thirteen, or however many you want); cut them into ½” to 1” cubes; and parboil them for 15 or so minutes (almost, but not quite, fork tender. Not quite).

Back to the meat: when it’s cool/cold (like, the next morning or day, or in a couple of days: it’s corned and boiled. It’ll keep for a while), using either a good, heavy knife or a processor, cut it into something between rough-cut cubes and a chop. Not a puree; not hamburger; something a little thicker, bigger. Cubes (did I say that?), but no too big. And not too small (did I say that?). Way smaller than the potatoes, but not way too much smaller.

Put about six tbsps. butter (Smart Balance; ICBINB) into a large skillet for which you have something that will cover it (large plate, platter are best but not for the cooking process: for actual cooking, a lid from something else, flat snake, sleeping fat person, whatever . . .). Meanwhile (actually, before you start with the non-butter), rough-chop one big (pretty big) or two medium (medium is medium ) yellow (not red, not sweet/Vidalia) onions. Rough chop like, say, if you were going to use them in a dip or spread. Not runny, soup chopped. Rough but not-too-big chop. Onions go in, even if you’ve found the “Simply Potatoes” with onions. By the way: do not use the so-called “southwestern-style” version. Just, don’t.

When the butter has melted, bring it to medium-low heat. Onions in, for about 5 or so minutes, till they begin to soften. Then, potatoes in with the onion, stirred/tossed. Bring the heat to medium-medium high depending on how hot your stovetop is. Salt it all a little.

Cover the potato-onion combination, turning the potatoes every four to six or eight to nine minutes (to keep them from burning or getting too terribly brown but just a little browned) for about nine or ten or twelve minutes or something. Then, when they begin to brown add the meat and mix it all well. (Sometime in advance of that, probably while you’re still at the onion stage, if you like a little green or red pepper with your hash, do the same thing to one red pepper or one green pepper or something less than one of each (like, maybe, a half, or three quarters of each), after cutting them in halves and taking out the seeds and the veins or internal ribs or whatever the fuck they’re called) and mix them with the onion, so that when you’re sautéing the onion you’re also doing the peppers.)

Turn the heat up a little and cook for another three or five minutes (careful) till the bottom side is down, kinda. Then, take the big platter, cover the skillet with the serving side of the platter down, as a lid (duh!), and with pot-holders or mits or Buddy’s hands (just kidding), quickly flip it over till the food’s on the plate (the skillet would be upside down, no?); then, slide the hash (yes! By now, it’s hash!) back into the skillet, with the brown side up (I knew you’d gotten there without me). Cook over medium-high heat, un-covered, till it’s as brown on the bottom as you want (or, as brown on the bottom as it is on the top, unless it’s not very brown on the top (which used to be the bottom), in which event go back a few steps and make it a little browner).

Poach an egg or two per person. For “How to poach killer eggs, the right way,” see, “Eggs, poached, killer,” or query here and I’ll give you a response that’s as quick and as sensible as this recipe. If you dare.

Uhm – – eat, eat already.

Here are some cook’s notes:

Remember, the meat’s already cooked, so you don’t have to worry about cooking it this time.

Take what’s left over and seal it in individual-sized thingies of Saran wrap (or any other clear plastic sticky wrap you use: the brand’s not important here. It’s more a generic term by now) or sandwich-sized Zip-lock or self-sealing (see note above about brand names) bags, and freeze. It makes a great breakfast over and over again. Better still with poached eggs . . .”

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