Many Baby Boomers remember a canned substance called “Hash” from our childhoods — and the memories are not particularly fond. The variants that included Corned Beef, Turkey, and even Roast Beef had distinct aromas, reminiscent of canned food that we fed to our pets. Hash was what we ate when our parents were too busy to cook, or too tired to cook, or maybe even gone bowling. After all, it consisted mostly of potatoes, with the occasional sliver of some unrecognizable meat. In that post war era, even restaurants served hash out of a can–some still do.
Once the 70’s rolled around, market shelves were devoted less and less to these types of items, as fresh and frozen food became more available and more competitive. Indeed, why freeze hash?
Marketing rears its head, once again
Eventually, like so many other abandoned traditions, chefs started reinterpreting the dish. They incorporated fresh ingredients and increased its cachet by calling it “Prime Rib” Hash. In so doing, chefs were confessing to serving a “leftover,” since nobody would cook a Prime Rib with the sole intention of shredding it into hash, would they?
Ironically, some restaurants offer Prime Rib Hash on their menus, even though they didn’t routinely serve Prime Rib. The fact is, once meat has been cooked to the “shreddable” stage, it really doesn’t matter if it’s Prime Rib or another cut. Asserting the presence of the high-priced ingredient is another attempt to justify elevated price points. If challenged, chefs will usually say “we serve it in the banquet department,” even if no such department exists. Who’s to know?
Don’t call it “leftovers”!
The fact is, there is really no such thing as a “leftover” unless you define the term as something that SHOULD have been eaten yesterday, but, we HOPE might still be okay to eat today. If restaurants insisted on preparing everything fresh every day, with nothing left over at the end of service, they would never get opened. It’s not only impossible, it’s undesirable. You can’t make prosciutto, or even pickles in the morning and serve them that night–so at what point does something become a leftover–midnight?
In the case of Sous Vide, as long as the product is handled correctly, the method assures us that we are going to have a quality product tomorrow, and, even, after that. The contents of sealed packages are pasteurized, and can keep much longer than we are accustomed to. Imagine an unopened carton of pasteurized milk from the store. As long as your refrigerator is around 40F, that milk will keep LONG after the expiration date, provided you don’t open it.
Sous Vide to the rescue!
This is not because milk keeps well on its own–quite the opposite. Before pasteurization–and modern refrigeration–were discovered, milk really WAS only good for one day–which was part of the genesis of cheese making. WHAT? Cheese is a leftover?
Oh, and one other thing. I don’t put potatoes in hash. No customer has EVER complained that there weren’t enough potatoes in the hash. I put potatoes in hash BROWNS, a subject for another post.
- 12 oz Sous Vide Beef, that has been processed (or reprocessed) @165F-183F, until it’s shreddable. If the meat has been processed SV once already, this usually takes about 4 hours. Chuck, top round, even “leftover” BBQ beef ribs are all excellent.
- 1 Tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
- 1/2 ear Crispy Fried Corn, (see recipe)
- 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 oz. chopped Sous Vide Onion (see recipe)
- 3 oz. COOKED oatmeal (hash has roots in Ireland)
- S+P to taste
- One egg, to be poached and perched on top of the hash.
- 1 oz. demi glace (see recipe), or substitute, in a squirt bottle
- sliced tomato
- A Kitchenaid mixer with paddle is good for shredding the meat and mixing in the rest of the ingredients, but a food processor with the dull blades works too, as well as clean hands.
- A set of food rings are handy for a lot of things, but not absolutely necessary
- A sharp knife to chop parsley. I like parsley. But, if you leave it out, the sky will not fall.
This corn was processed Sous Vide @183Fx4 hours, then shocked cold, rolled in flour, egg white, and then sprinkled with an herb mixture and roasted until crisp. It can also be deep fried, or even fried in a pan. Yes, even on the BBQ! There’s a recipe in the vegetable category of this site.
Cut the corn off the cob.
Gather the meat.
Put it in the hopper or bowl.
Chop some parsley (no stems) and add to the meat.
Add the finely chopped garlic.
Add the onion. This onion was processed whole @183Fx1 hour, then shocked cold. There’s no tears when chopping, no need to pre cook and it’s soft and quite sweet.
Add the onion and cold oatmeal. Mix until it all sticks together, which it will after the meat has pulled apart to the right extent.
Form into desired shapes, and chill to set.
I usually make a his and hers size.
Fry at medium heat on a lightly oiled griddle or thick bottomed skillet, to prevent sticking. Flip carefully. You will find, if you leave the ring on, this step is much easier. Don’t worry if the whole thing falls apart. It’s hash.
- Put a slice or two of tomato on the plate, sprinkle with S+P and a little EVOO.
- Poach (or scramble, or fry, whatever) your egg and put it on top. If you poach the egg, put a little vinegar in the water to help the egg whites cling to the yolk. “Poached” is a misnomer–the water should be BOILING when you add the egg, at which time you reduce the heat to medium.
- Drizzle with the demi glace, and I like to sprinkle a little bit more parsley on top.
If you can put fried chicken on a waffle, by golly, you should be able to put some “Prime Rib” Hash and an egg on there. Sort of a variant on “Pigs in a Blanket,” but I don’t have a catchy name for it–yet.
A Better Hash
Our Sous Vide techniques and processing have enabled us to simplify the preparation steps and also preserve the flavor of our protein – Beef or Chicken. These are very simple recipes but the result is an elevated, more flavorful, version of that thing called Hash. Once you try it, it will change your opinion in a big way.
If you have questions or observations, please share them in the comments section below.