Corned beef hash is the classic hash dish both in spirit and conception.
The ‘throw together’ spirit is one that has its origins in leaner times when people extended dishes and made the most of what they had. The recipe was popular on the US railroad lines and on chuck wagons at the beginning of the 20th century and really came to prominence in the UK during the World Wars when rationing necessitated frugal cooking and the use of more salt-cured products.
Corned beef is also one of the most pronounced non-perishable food items on the supermarket shelves. Its origins lie in the British Industrial Revolution and Irish corned beef was used and traded extensively from the 17th century to the mid-19th century both for consumer consumption and as provisions for the British naval fleets which is when it found its way to North America. Today, we have South America and Fray Bentos to thank for its continued use in British kitchens. More than 16 million cans were exported from Uruguay in 1943 and today around 80% of the global tinned corned beef supply originates from Brazil.
The conception is classic hash. A starch, a protein and flavouring with flavouring and an egg on top. But what makes it most ‘hash-like’ is that not one recipe is the same. Although it rarely finds a place in haute cuisine, there exists wide and varied recipes that highlight the dexterous nature of the dish.
From the fridge: Peppers, Curly Kale, Tomatoes.
From the cupboard: Onions, Corned Beef, Potatoes, Worcester Sauce.
Could add: Baked Beans, Cheese, Mushrooms, Mustard, Hollandaise, Gravy.
Chop the potatoes into bite size pieces and boil in a pan until soft.
Heat up a good glug of oil in a pan and brown the onions. Open the corned beef tin and spoon in the meat, stirring until softened.
Add the potatoes, tomatoes and kale with a few hearty dollops of Worcester Sauce.
Boil a couple of eggs while you cook the hash through and serve with a sprig of thyme.