Happy St Patrick’s Day!!
What? I’m a little early in that statement, you say? Well, since this is my week to pen this article, I figured I would allow myself the opportunity to be the first to wish you a Happy St Patty’s Day! That way, I can feel justified in letting the holiday linger just a little longer!
While many of you will be enjoying the traditional corned beef and cabbage meal next week, I doubt you will be cooking as much as I will be! I expect to cook well over a hundred pounds of corned beef this week and into the next (and will hope that I have some left over!). While many of my customers order the Irish staple, it just wouldn’t be St Patty’s Day in the McGraw household without a family get together that includes corned beef, cabbage and of course, a green beer or two!
Corned beef is a very simple meat to prepare if you have patience…it is not a quick cook entrée, for sure! Because it is a brisket cut, it requires a long cook time to become the tender, melt in your mouth delicacy we all love. I have always preferred to cook my corned beef on the stove top, simmering it for several hours, or in my crock pot, slow cooking all day. It can also be baked, again for a long time at a low temperature, but I have found an even easier method this year! My parents gave me an “Insta Pot” for Christmas this past year, and WOW! Does it ever cut my cook time down! If your grandma, like mine, had an old fashioned pressure cooker, you know the dangers involved in pressure cooking. The instant pots of today, however, offer the same rapid cooking without the stove top pressure danger. I can now cook my corned beef to tender perfection in about a third of the time it used to take me! Watch for more on instant cookers in an upcoming article…
Back to my yummy corned beef… My favorite parts of a corned beef dinner, truly, are the treats you can make with the leftovers. In our house, a corned beef dinner plays second fiddle to the Rueben sandwiches and hash we enjoy the next day. My husband is the king of Reuben sandwiches. He can make a mouth-watering sandwich that even a non-lover will enjoy! Don’t tell him I said so, but I think his secret is using Bavarian sauerkraut. Bavarian sauerkraut, unlike plain sauerkraut, is a little sweeter and contains caraway seeds. It just adds that special something to those yummy grilled sandwiches.
My contribution to the redemption of left-over St Patrick’s Day dinner is corned beef hash (also known as red flannel hash). I love the comfort food feel of a big bowl of steaming hash. Since I will have the big stock pot full of the broth that resulted from simmering my meat, potatoes, carrots and cabbage, instead of just dumping it down the drain, I will first use it to cook extra potatoes. The broth has wonderful flavor that will be infused into the potatoes as they cook. As simple as it is to do, we often forget about the wonderful flavors that can be infused into simple starches, such as potatoes and rice, simply by using flavored cooking broths (simple stocks) to cook them in.
If it is left over, chances are most any food can have a second life in some wonderful form. You just need to be willing to “repurpose” your left-overs and voila! Less clutter in your fridge and something great on your plate!
Red Flannel Corned Beef Hash
1 lb corned beef**, chilled
1 lb cooked potatoes
1 T minced onion
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, pulse to coarsely chop corned beef. Move meat to a mixing bowl. As with meat, pulse to coarsely chop potatoes (although I prefer to simply use a potato masher rather than the processor for the potatoes; you will get a chunkier texture for your hash).
Add potatoes, onion, salt and pepper to bowl with meat and gently mix to incorporate. You want this to remain chunky; do not over mix!
In a hot, lightly oiled pan, fry hash until heated through and crispy on the edges.
Serve with eggs, if desired!
**You can substitute regular roast for the corned beef if desired. It will simply result in home-style beef hash rather than red flannel hash!
To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.