If you want something special for breakfast, this is the dish. I have always loved corned beef hash, even the canned varieties. Recently, while staying at the Greenbriar Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, I had their famous homemade corned beef hash with two poached eggs on top. It was outrageously good and I became committed to reproduce the dish at home. While I won’t claim to have surpassed the Greenbriar, I think you will find this recipe very good.
This recipe starts with a whole flat cut corned brisket just like the ones that are always sold around St. Patrick’s Day. “Corned” simply means a brisket that has been brined for 2-3 days. This was a technique used in pre-refrigeration days to preserve the meat. Now, we continue the tradition because of the resulting slightly salty taste and interesting texture.
Corned beef is often boiled, but I suggest a technique from Mauigirl, where she braises the brisket in the oven rather than boiling it. It works great. I like to put the brisket in the oven when I go to bed (about 10:00PM) and take it out when I get up (about 6:00AM). If I have a big group to feed, I have time to get the hash prepared and make a big deal of the whole process and serve an incredible breakfast.
The Science of Cooking Brisket
Tougher cuts of meat like brisket or pork shoulder (really the butt) have a lot of connective tissue, made up of collagen and elastin, which slowly dissolves over time during cooking. The process usually takes 6-8 hours. Once the collagen and elastin have “melted”, the meat will be beautifully tender, as long as you haven’t applied so much heat that the meat is completely dried out. Long, slow braising at a low temperature is the only way to cook these cuts. When braising, a little liquid is added and the dish is covered.
Here’s how to make your homemade corned beef hash.
- Corned Beef – flat cut brisket (this is the typical way they are offered around St. Patrick’s Day)
- 1 onion – sliced
- 6 garlic – peeled and smashed
- 2 tbsp. Kitchen Bouquet – this helps in browning
- ¼ cup water
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Wash and dry the corned beef brisket, discard any flavoring packet, and brush with Kitchen Bouquet.
- Heat 2 tbsp. vegetable oil in a large pan and brown the brisket for 2 minutes on each side.
- Brush the corned beef with Kitchen Bouquet and place in a roasting pan on a rack Add the onion, garlic and water, and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Bake for at least 8 hours. Throw it in the oven when go to bed, but make sure you remember to take it out in the morning! The internal temperature should be about 210 degrees.
- Put into the refrigerator for an hour. This will make it easier to chop and dice
It is interesting to note that a 3lb. corned beef will yield only about 1.5-2.0 lbs. of meat after cooking and removing fat. There is a lot of water in the beef. You will get about 6 cups of diced meat.
This recipe produces a large batch of corned beef hash which you can serve to a big group or freeze in smaller batches to use as needed. Freezing works just fine as long as you use non-starchy potatoes like red or Yukon Gold varieties. The object is to cook the potatoes about about three-quarters of the way and then dice. They freeze and reheat better this way. We also cook a little more before serving, so it works just fine.
- 6 cups of diced brisket as cooked above
- 6 cups of non-starchy potatoes, like red or Yukon gold, unpeeled and quartered
- 2 onions – diced
- 1 red pepper – diced
- ½ tsp. each of salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley
- Take the corned beef brisket out of the pan and put on a cutting board. Save one cup of the juices in the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Dice the corned beef into ¼ inch cubes and set aside. This is most easily done slicing the brisket across the grain and then, working with three or four slices, cut into cubes. Remove any excess fat. If the corned beef brisket has been cooked sufficiently, this will be a very easy process.
- Boil the potatoes with the skin intact for no more than 10 minutes. They should still be relatively firm. Drain and set aside to cool.
- When potatoes are cool, dice into 1/4 inch cubes.
- Add the olive oil to a large pan and cook the onions and peppers until they just begin to soften.
- Add the reserved brisket, potatoes, red pepper flakes, parsley, salt and pepper to the pan and heat until warm. Add a little of the retained juices if too dry.
- Serve and enjoy.
- Make a bed of hash and cook or poach two eggs and serve on top of the hash. Toss some parsley on top and you have a gorgeous breakfast dish.
- Serve the warm hash by itself with vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower for lunch or dinner. Ketchup and Tabasco are good accompaniments.
Put portions of 2 cups each into plastic bags and freeze until needed. Each package will serve two people. Take a frozen package out of the freezer at night and put into the refrigerator. It will be thawed by morning.
- Make Cauliflower Rice Hash and omit the potatoes. Chop the cauliflower in a food processor or grate with a food grater to make rice-sized pieces. Add the cauliflower to the sauteed onions and garlic. Proceed with the recipe.
- Stir in your favorite spices such as thyme, parsley, chives or sage.
- Instead of Worchestershire, add one of your favorite sauces, such as a BBQ sauce or a good hot sauce.