I think corned beef and cabbage is a gigantic joke that the Irish play on Americans. I think that many years ago, a group of drunks gathered in a Boston pub and tried to come up with a way to trick millions of people. After hours of ideas and many pints later, one of them came up with an idea: make people eat garbage. Maybe not actual garbage, but something that smells like rotting trash. It had to sound ethnic and related to a dirt poor nation of people dodging famines. They chose the cheapest possible meat — a beef round that had been cured — and a vegetable that was plentiful but that no one wanted to eat. When tossed into a pot and left to cook all day, corned beef and cabbage would make homes around America smell like landfills in the name of being “authentically Irish.”
That’s what I’m going with. And while my conspiracy might be a tad off, according to Salon.com, corned beef is about as Irish as the pizza I ate for dinner on Friday night.
But, I like corned beef. I don’t eat it particularly often and rarely outside of a sandwich. The idea of a hash, which we have encountered here before, sounded particularly good. The abundance of corned beef at supermarkets made this a rather easy call.
This is not by any means a labor-intensive dish. The most work you are going to do is with the boiling of the meat, which you want to do in order to draw out the salt in this recipe. If you were just going to make boiled garbage, I mean corned beef and cabbage, you would be okay. Even if you were going to cook the corned beef in a slow cooker, you would fine. But since I roasted the meat, it needed as much salt drawn out of the brisket as possible. On the final of three boils, I dumped in about 3/4 of a gallon of The Long Thaw, Harpoon Brewery’s white IPA brewed for spring. It’s a floral, spicy beer without a ton of hops. The boiled beer brought a different flavor to the meat.
WHAT WORKED: Roasting. Less cleanup than a crockpot or braising and easier to dice later on. Cooking this with the dry heat of an oven, as opposed to poaching it in a slow cooker, lets flavor of the meat stand on its own rather than adopting whatever flavor is in the liquid.
WHAT DIDN’T: I gave it a rather hefty cap of Dijon mustard. Had I thought about this earlier, I would have grabbed a jar of Coleman’s mustard or something like that. The Dijon was a little too overpowering.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “I didn’t think I was going to like dinner, but I liked dinner. But you know how I feel about poor people food. I love poor people food.”
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: I would love to say yes, but it was more than a year since the last time I did a hash.
Corned Beef Hash
By Jared Paventi
- 2 lb. corned beef brisket
- 48 to 64 oz. strong-flavored beer (IPA or stout; this is not the time to bust out Michelob Ultra or Bud Light)
- 1/4 cup mustard (Coleman’s or a coarse-ground mustard)
- 1 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
- kosher salt
- 2 to 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion
- herbes de provence
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse the corned beef brisket and set it in Dutch oven or other deep pan. Add water until the meat is just covered and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the pan reaches a boil, drain the water out and replace with fresh water. Return to the stovetop and bring to a boil. Drain the water again, but this time cover the meat in beer. If you don’t have enough beer, use water until the meat is submerged. Return to the stovetop and bring to a boil one last time. Transfer the corned beef to a roasting pan and discard the beer.
Spread a medium layer (thick enough where you cannot see the meat) of mustard on the top, cover the pan with foil and cook 2 hours. Remove the foil and cook an additional 30 minutes to create a crust on the top of the meat. Set aside to cool, then cut into cubes.
In the meantime, take a large mixing bowl and add about 1 tbsp. of kosher salt to it. Add some warm water and swish it around so some of the salt dissolves. Add the potatoes and cover with water. Let stand about 1 hour to draw the starch out.
In a large saucepan, Dutch oven or stockpot, add about 1 tbsp. of kosher salt, the potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and let cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the potato with a fork. Drain the potatoes and add to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the butter and cook the onions until soft and translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the bowl with the potatoes. Add the corned beef, milk and herbs. Toss gently with a spoon, paying attention not to break or mash the potatoes.
Add the contents of the mixing bowl to the same skillet, pressing down with a spatula periodically in order to create a crust on the bottom. Cook for 15 minutes.
Preheat your broiler to high then, after the stovetop cooking, transfer the pan to your oven and broil until the top of your hash begins to brown and crust. Serve hot. Without cabbage.