Let’s face it, people. Some foods, no matter how much we love them, are just plain ugly. A fantastic recipe does not always equal an attractive dish It’s an issue that we food bloggers struggle with on a regular basis. We want our food photos to leap off the page and pull you in. We strive to deliver “droolworthy-ness”. And sometimes, it ain’t easy. But, I believe that looks aren’t everything. I also believe that in the culinary world, taste supersedes looks. I hope you do too, dear readers, because this Red Flannel Hash may not be the prettiest dish in the world, but its got personality up the wazoo!
The first time I ever ate red flannel hash was about fifteen years ago at a little café a few blocks from my house. The café was called Wild Eats, and its menu was filled with tempting dishes using lots of locally sourced, fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood. This was before the whole locavore movement hit its stride. It was ahead of its time.
One day, I ordered Wild Eats’ red flannel hash for lunch. I was served a huge plate of deliciousness filled with hefty chunks of fried onion, potatoes, turkey sausage and roasted beets held together with two sunny side up, farm fresh eggs. I’d never tasted fresh beets before. I always thought that I didn’t like beets. But actually, what I didn’t like was the stuff they put in the jars to preserve the beets. It was a revelation!
Sadly, Wild Eats is no more. It was eventually replaced by a Tex-Mex joint; which was replaced by a Cuban joint; which has since been replaced by a Japanese-Korean fusion joint. Sigh…
Since I can’t get my red flannel hash fix at Wild Eats anymore, I have to be content with making my own at home. Fortunately, that’s pretty easy to do. Hash is one of those frugal dishes that was conceived in order to use up leftover meats and veggies. I suggest you start with onions, potatoes and beets. After that, you can add whatever you have lurking in your fridge. This time, I used chunks of corned beef that I had left over from St. Patrick’s Day. But, my favorite proteins in this dish are turkey sausage or salmon (wild – never farmed).
To make the hash, start by sautéing some sweet onions in butter. Next, add in cubes of cooked potatoes, beets and whatever protein you choose. Splash in a little Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper. Then, slide a few fried eggs on top. If you’d prefer to make it vegetarian or vegan, leave out the meat or fish and substitute olive oil for the butter. But please, please, please, whatever you do, use fresh beets. I promise, it’s worth it. Plus, roasting beets is simple. Just scrub and trim them, wrap them in foil and pop them in a 375 F. oven for 45 minutes to an hour. When they’ve cooled, remove the foil and peel off their skins. You can do this a day or two in advance.
So, there you have it: A dish that might not be too pretty, but is definitely pretty darn fabulous!
Red Flannel Hash
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Large pinch salt
- 2 cups cooked corned beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3-4 medium-sized russet potatoes, cooked “al dente” and cut into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes
- 2-3 medium-sized beets, roasted and cut into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes
- 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 to 8 fried eggs
- Dash of Tabasco sauce (optional)
- Fresh, minced parsley for garnish (optional)
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until slightly tender and just beginning to get golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the corned beef and continue to cook another 5 minutes or so, until the meat begins to brown.
- Toss the potatoes and beets to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned around the edges, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Continue cooking, gently pressing with a spatula or large spoon, until the hash is crisp and browned.
- Scoop the hash onto 4 plates and top each with 1 or 2 eggs. Garnish with parsley and a dash of Tabasco, if desired.
Serves 4 very hungry people.