Preparing meals on a regular basis inevitably leads to surplus so it’s good to have a couple “go to” recipes for transforming your leftovers into something completely new. You can only carry so much for lunch the next day! After a weekend’s carnita extravaganza we had a couple cups of meat leftover. As pleased as I was with how my salsas turned out, I was not interested in anything wrapped in a tortilla for dinner. Hash to the rescue!
Hash is one of those catch-all meals like quiche or an omelet that will allow you to use up little bits of this and that you may have in your fridge. For this particular hash, I had pork and green pepper but another time it may be ham and leftover peas or corned beef and cabbage. Feel free to go meatless and use cheese and fresh herbs (in which case you’re technically making something other than hash, but there’s no judging in Lydia’s Flexitarian Kitchen).
Now, I have to admit I don’t always get that perfect golden crust and I’m envious of people who can do it with regularity. I eat whatever crust the kitchen faeries give me that day and am greatful either way. Using leftover potatoes– or parboiling fresh ones– helps my hash to form a nice crust more often than not.
Don’t sweat it if you’re short on one ingredient and long on another; and feel free to vary the seasonings according to your preference. Hash is very forgiving.
Use the largest skillet you have. We use a 12″ stir fry pan that I also use to parboil the potatoes.
Here’s what you’ll need for 4 to 6 servings:
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced; or cooked potatoes equivalent to 3-4 cups
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups pork, chopped and/or pulled into small bite sized pieces (substitute beef, chicken, ham, cheese whatever you like. I haven’t tried seafood but no judging, remember?)
- diced onion and green peppers equivalent to 1 cup (or 1 cup of any combination of vegetables you desire)
- 2 cloves chopped garlic (about 2 tsp)
- 1 tsp fresh herbs (on this particular evening, I didn’t use anything as the pork was very flavorful but thyme works well with most everything)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- a fried egg for each person, cooked right before serving (optional)
- If you’re not using leftover potatoes, place your diced potatoes into a large pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and cook until the potatoes break when you stick a fork in them. Pour them into a colander and let drain.
- While the potatoes are boiling, prep the meat, vegetables and herbs as needed.
- Pour the olive oil into the skillet and heat to medium high.
- Add the onions and green peppers and saute for a couple minutes. Add the garlic and saute one minute more.
- Add the meat and herbs. Stir to combine with the onions and peppers.
- Add the potatoes. Stir to combine with the other ingredients in the pan. Add salt and pepper to suit. Then begin to press everything into the bottom of the pan, like you’re forming a cake.
- Now be patient for 5 minutes and let the bottom cook.
- Then mix and press again.
- Continue in this manner until a nice crust has formed and been distributed through the hash.
- If serving eggs, fry them at this time.
- To serve, spoon a bit of hash onto a plate and artfully lay the fried egg on top. Garnish with chopped parsley; make sure to do it with a flourish.
This is one of those recipes that’s really difficult to give measurements for as it’s really a method of cooking. Still, I hope you can appreciate how the pork that was the star of Saturday’s dinner became a supporting player in our hash. (BTW here’s the recipe I used for the carnitas…I wouldn’t kick them out of a tortilla but it wasn’t quite the flavor I was looking for. (I’m definitely going to remember the technique; it was clever.)
Have you made hash from scratch? What are your favorite combinations? Any tricks for achieving that diner-style crust?