03/18/2011 08:31 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Hash: It's What To Do With Leftover Corned Beef

Got some leftover corned beef? Me too. Here's what to do with it. Make a hash of it.

I love corned beef hash, but I hate the bowl of paste that passes for the real deal in so many diners, and I especially despise the stuff in the can. So I make it myself and top it with a sensual runny egg.

Where's the corn?

Corned beef has no corn. OK, maybe the cow ate some corn, but no corn is harmed in the process of corning beef. Corning is a cure. No, not for a green beer hangover. Curing is an ancient process invented before refrigerators for preserving meat by packing it in salt or soaking it in brine.

2010-03-18-corned_beef_hash2.jpgIn recent years, curing is also done by injecting meat with a salt solution.

Corned beef was a World War II staple among civilians in Great Britain and among the troops in Europe because fresh meats were hard to come by. It came in a can. But interestingly corned beef and cabbage is not a tradition in Ireland. Bacon and cabbage with potatoes is more typical on the Emerald Isle. In Ireland, bacon is not at all like American bacon, it is usually cured or brined pork loin, similar to what we call Canadian bacon.

The tradition of corned beef on St. Patrick's Day began on Manhattan's Lower East Side where both Irish and Jewish immigrants rubbed shoulders in the ghettos. Many Jewish immigrants were butchers, but pork was verboten, so the cured meat of choice was beef brisket, a cheap cut. So Irish immigrants switched to corned beef. Hence, an Irish Jewish American hybrid tradition was born.

The recipe below is pretty forgiving. Don't sweat exact measurements.

Recipe for Corned Beef Hash

Makes. 2 servings
Preparation time. 15 minutes
Cooking time. 30 minutes
Serve with. Anything but green beer.

2 cups cooked leftover corned beef
2 cups cooked leftover potatoes
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 pasteurized eggs
2 teaspoons bacon fat, lard, butter, or cooking oil
1/2 cup broth from the boiled corned beef and cabbage or just plain water

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About the meat. No corned beef? Take your choice of your choice of leftover meats: Pulled pork, ribs, brisket, sausage, bacon, chicken, turkey, salmon, and even shrimp or lobster. Just don't use something that is very saucy or wet.

About the eggs. If you want the yolks runny, and I do, you should use 2 pasteurized eggs for the topping.

Optional mix-ins. If you wish, add up to a cup of these: Corn kernels, small chopped bell peppers, minced jalapeno, bread crumbs, crushed garlic, sauteed chopped mushrooms, or finely chopped celery.

Optional toppings. If the egg is not enough, top your hash with melting cheese such as Muenster, jack, pepper jack, brie, smoked gouda, provalone, cambozola, and havarti. Grate it or slice it thin and put it on as soon as you flip the hash, before the egg. How about a scoop of tomato salsa or chopped tomatoes and a pucketa of hot sauce, steak sauce, or Worcestershire sauce. I especially recommend sour cream or sour cream with a little chipotle in adobo sauce.

Do this
1) Chop the meat and potatoes into 1/4 to 1/2" cubes.

2) In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs with a fork, then add the corned beef, potatoes, onions, garlic, and thyme. Add the broth or water. Mix.

3) On your grill or stovetop, preheat a frying pan, preferably a cast iron pan, to high and add the fat. Roll it around so it coats the bottoms and sides.

4) Add the hash mix and pat it down with a spatula. Cook on until the eggs in the mix set. With a spatula, flip things over. If the meat looks dry, add another 1/2 cup of broth or water.

5) Crack the remaining eggs and lay them on top of the hash. Turn the heat to medium. Cover and cook until the whites have set but the yolks are still runny. This could take 10 to 15 minutes, longer than you think. If you are not using pasteurized eggs you should cook them until the yolks are set. The salmonella risk is too great. Just don't burn the bottom.

6) While the eggs are cooking, heat the leftover cabbage as a side dish. Microwave is fine.

What do you do with leftover corned beef?

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