Thursday, 27 March 2008

Vegetable Hash

As ever, I list quantities, but this is not the kind of recipe where you should get too excited about measuring exactly. This is hash, for Pete's sake, which is all about throwing stuff in a pan with lots of oil and cooking it until it gets crusty.

I used love corned beef hash - and by "used to" I mean I still do, I just never make it. It wants that greasy tinned corned beef to be a proper corned beef hash, and it all seems to come from Australia; a place from which they should not be importing beef in tins on account of their arable land and water shortage, or from Brazil; a place from which they should not be importing beef in tins on account of they shouldn't be cutting down the rain forest to raise beef. Not to mention the absurdity of sending beef in tins from halfway around the world to a place that raises plenty of its own beef. There was also the little problem that every time I made corned beef hash, I gained a pound, or maybe even two. Not exactly a low calorie dish. I wouldn't say this is either, but it doesn't seem to go straight to the belly in the same way - although it will fill it up nicely.

I'm calling for freshly prepared ingredients, but if you happened to have a bunch of leftover cooked potatoes, and some leftover cooked cabbage from another meal you'd be half-way done before you even started. Just sayin'.

2 to 4 servings
45 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Vegetable Hash
4 to 6 medium-small potatoes (900 grams or 2 pounds)
1 large onion
2 stalks of celery
2 cups chopped cabbage
3 cups halved or quartered button mushrooms
you could throw in a chopped green pepper if you liked

olive oil, lots; or bacon fat, ditto
salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon rubbed savory
2 tablespoons dried chives, or better, twice as much fresh

Wash and trim the potatoes, and cut them into dice. Put them in a large pot with water to cover and boil for 10 minutes, until just done.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion, trim and chop the celery, and chop the cabbage, also the green pepper if you are using it. Set them aside together. Clean and trim the mushrooms.

Sauté the onion, celery and cabbage (and pepper) in a tablespoon or so of oil. When they are soft and slightly browned, remove them from the pan and set them aside.

Meanwhile, the potatoes should be drained once they are ready. Add more oil to the pan, and then add the potatoes and the mushrooms. Cook them over medium low heat, turning them regularly. They should be allowed to get fairly brown and crispy, and they will cook down considerably. When you are happy with their looks, return the rest of the vegetables and add the seasonings to the pan, mixing them in well. When everything is hot and steamy, serve it up. With ketchup if you like, or a poached egg on top.


Alison said...

I tried this recipe tonight, but I'm afraid I used starchy potatoes instead of waxy ones, so they fell apart when I tried to fry them. And I had them in the pan for twenty minutes or so, but they never seemed to brown. So it was more like mashed potato hash--still good but not at all crispy as I had hoped. Any tips?

Ferdzy said...

Well, I should have been more clear that this is a slow process - 20 minutes is not really a lot of time to cook hash; if you are lucky it might be done by then but it could take longer too. It helps if the potatoes are not overly cooked to start with. Also, you just can't be skimpy with the oil; I tend to want to be (Eek! Fat! Cooties!) and without a certain amount, things won't brown all that well (although they will eventually turn black...)

And finally, use a thin spatula to get underneath and turn the hash over, and don't do it too often - the veg need to sit against the bottom of the pan for a while before they get brown, and too much turning and stirring will also contribute to the potatoes falling apart.

Sorry it didn't work out well for you... I try to be clear in my recipes but looking at the list above I see there was quite a lot more I could have said!