Still, I have unabashedly adored Mary Kitchen with a passion many reserve for real flesh and blood cooks. That's because her hash makes me happy.Yes, happy. I know, I should be in the kitchen making my own from leftovers rather than wielding a can opener. But understand, Mary Kitchen and I go way, way back.
I was introduced to Ms. Kitchen while a student at Manhattanville College. Dinner, what there was of it, was served at 5 p.m., and by 9, I was always starving. Mary Kitchen hash was great for dorm cooking because it came in a tidy can, didn't need refrigeration and could be heated up quickly on one of the dorm stoves.
Mary Kitchen corned beef hash satisfied on so many levels. The hash was meaty with just enough fatty schmaltz and salt to make it taste decadent. The texture was fun, the meat kind of soft, the potatoes a little nubbly and the whole a bit crispy on the edges. Oh, and it went great with a Scotch on the rocks. Still does, in fact, though these days I'm more inclined to pour a pinot if corned beef hash is for dinner.
Hormel Foods makes roast beef and corned beef hash. I've always stuck with the corned beef; tastes best.
A good hash
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Makes: 2 servings
Like Mary Kitchen, Julia Child has a special place in my heart. It was the legendary "French chef" who told a surprised Judith Jones to stir some stock or gravy into a hash to give it a crusty glaze. Jones, an esteemed cookbook editor and no slouch in the kitchen, found it really worked. Here's an all-purpose hash recipe from Jones' food memoir, "The Tenth Muse."
2 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 mushrooms, chopped, optional
2 shallots or 1 medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1/2 large red or green bell pepper, chopped
2 medium or small potatoes, boiled, peeled, chopped
6 ounces cooked beef, lamb, pork, corned beef or poultry, cut into a small dice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper