Today’s the first day of Spring in Chicago, so naturally it’s cold as the Ginnugagap void of Norse Mythology. You’re also likely to be sick and tired of corned beef sandwiches, but not yet running low on your St. Paddy’s surplus. Let’s solve both problems with a dish that can be made on the grill, or just as easily on your hot stove, far away from the cruel, grinning specter of Chicago “Spring.” Plus, you can clean out your fridge. That 11 lb corned beef you thought was a good idea last Saturday? It’s great for this.
Even moreso than usual, the recipe below is a guide. Throw whatever crazy crap you have in this. That’s the entire point of hash. That and providing a softer landing for that sixth shot of Malort that you were convinced at the time was a great idea. Just don’t fuck up the potatoes. You do that and you’ll just be staring down a mushy pile of sadness. If that Greek dude at the diner with the hairy arms and the gigantic eyebrows can master this, I’m sure you can too. It goes great with a breakfast beer and enough good hot sauce to make you see long-lost relatives gesturing from the other side of eternity.
1 lb leftover corned beef, chopped
4 tbsp bacon fat (or cooking oil)
2 lb russet potatoes
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 c crumbled feta (or queso fresco if you hate flavor in cheese)
1/4 c chopped basil (or whatever fresh herbs are slowly dying in your fridge)
8 slices marble rye bread, toasted
1. This is short order cooking, so have ALL YOUR SHIT READY. Seriously. Pretend you’re a Waffle Hut cook without the meth problem. Russet potatoes oxidize (turn red and gross) with swiftness, so before you touch a damn potato, make sure you’re good to go on everything else. Get a large skillet, or a big-ass cast iron, or wide, heavy griddle, oil the bottom, and preheat it a bit over medium-low. If you’re poaching the eggs to put on top, get a second pot to fill with a few inches of water and bring it to just below a simmer, where the bubbles are forming on the bottom and sides. Get thee ready for short-order madness.
2. Bring the oil to medium heat in your pan.
3. Peel and shred the potatoes. Squeeze as much water as you can out with a ricer or paper towels. Soggy potatoes will screw up the browning and bring shame upon your genetic line. When they’re good and squeezed, swirl the oil to coat the bottom of the pan and throw in the potatoes, spreading them out as much as possible. Leave them alone for 5 minutes and season the top with salt and pepper.
4. Check the bottom for a nice brown crust and flip the potatoes. Add the onions and green onions. Cook another 5 minutes.
5. Add the Worcestershire and half the cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning.
6. Add the chopped, cooked corned beef, the herbs, and whatever else you decided needed to come out of the fridge. More cheese? Sure. Leftover shrimp? The more meats, the merrier. Gummy bears? Weird, but whatever floats your boat. Fold in the new stuff.
7. Big egg decision for you. Will you scramble them into the hash? Float them in indents made in the hash? Poach them, serve them over the top, and burst the yolk like a soft-focus Cooking Channel shot after dark? Whatever you do, do it now.
8. Serve with marble rye toast and the most ungodly amount of hot sauce you can master. Garnish with the rest of the cheese and herbs. Johnny Cash’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” provides the ideal soundtrack.