the gRumpcAst

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Archive for the 'Cooking' Category

Corned Beef Hash and Poached Eggs


I count corned beef hash as one of the America’s greatest culinary contributions. It’s a balance of starch, protein and fat.  It’s crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. In short, the definition of deliciousness.

For many people, “corned beef hash” means a can from the supermarket shelf. While I can understand the attraction of convenience foods, you can do a lot better. Making your own corned beef hash is really simple.

The “corn” in corned beef refers to the salts used to preserve it which are supplied to the meat processor in corn kernel sized pellets. It was a method used to preserve beef in the days before refrigeration. Sailing ships carried kegs of “bully” beef, an old term for the same product, to feed their crews. These days, you can find corned beef brisket floating in a brine solution in a plastic bag at your local meat market.

I add the meat, brine and all to a pot with enough boiling water to cover the meat.  I add spices (usually peppercorns, allspice and bay leaf) to the pot, cover and simmer for about 4 hours or until it’s about 165º F on the thermometer.

The meat comes out of the broth and is allowed to cool.

Corned Beef Hash

(makes two cups finished hash)

1 cup of cooked and pulled or chopped corn beef.

1 large onion, peeled and chopped. (I prefer white onions for this dish)

1 cup of chopped potatoes.  (Try Yukon gold, but any potato will do)

unsalted butter and/or pomace oil.

salt and pepper to taste. (I like chunky salt in this dish and of course, fresh ground pepper)

Everybody has their own hash recipe.  I’m a purist and only use potatoes, onions and the corned beef. Some folks add carrots or other veggies to the recipe.  Not me.  I use equal quantities of potatoes (parboiled in water or semi-baked in the microwave) and beef, and about 1/2 as much onion as I have potatoes.

Chop everything into a size you like.  Instead of chopping the meat, you can pull it into pieces (like you would for bbq pork).  I’m fond of chunky hash and keep my pieces around a half inch or so.

To start, you heat some oil and or butter (for me: 1/2 pomace oil and 1/2 unsalted butter) in a heavy pan (I use Jane’s cast iron chicken fryer).  Add chopped onions and sweat until a bit soft.  Add the potatoes and chopped/pulled corned beef.  Mash it down and let it fry.  Some people use a ring to give the finished dish a form. Others like it a bit more rustic.

Cook over a medium fire until you hear it sizzling and smell it getting close to burning (but not too close).  Flip it over and brown the other side. I serve it with a lightly poached egg on top.  The idea is to have a mostly liquid yolk which flows into the hash. It’s a very rich dish and probably not one that you should eat too often, but well worth the effort and absolutely simple to prepare.

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Extra Slutty Olive Oil

If you can call the very first, softest pressing of olive oil, virgin, then pomace oil must be extra slutty.


Olive oil ratings mostly have to do with how much pressure is placed on the olive pulp and seeds and how long it was pressed.  You load the press up with crushed olives, and start pressing.  The first oil that comes out of the press with the lighest amount of pressure is called “extra virgin”.  The olive pulp gets pressed a bit harder and a bit longer and you get regular olive oil.  Take what’s left over, grind pulp and seeds and process it using various secret methods (chemistry is involved).  What comes out is “pomace” oil.  This is the lowest edible grade of olive oil.   After this, comes the oil that burns in shrines throughout the mediteranean.

Some people turn up their noses at pomace oil, disrespecting it’s industrial birth.  Some people will tell you that pomace oil is only fit to be use in a lamp or to lubricate your bicycle chain.  I disagree.

Pomace oil has none of the flavor or aroma of olive oil.  It burns at a higher temperature.  It doesn’t have the (at least to me) bitter taste of rapeseed (canola) oil or corn oil which also goes through some major processing.

I’ve used it a little mixed in baked goods and pancakes, but mostly I fry with it.  I mix it with about 1/2 toasted sesame oil when I do panko frys.   While it cut’s the sesame flavor a slight bit, things seem to fry better in the mixture than with toasted sesame oil alone.  It’s hard to beat for frying fish.  It’s the perfect media for frying squid.

It’s difficult to find pomace oil.  Look for a store that specializes in Italiano or Greek cuisine or just click on the Amazon link below and make me richer than my wildest dreams.