Red Flannel Hash–finely chopped potatoes, onion, beets & beef with some greens thrown in—is commonly thought of as New England’s thrifty way of repurpose-ing leftover boiled dinners (corned beef, cabbage & potatoes) into next-day breakfasts. But instead of re-hashed hash, I look at Red Flannel as a colorful opportunity to showcase just-cooked veggies, beef & eggs for a hearty brunch.
And reading through the history books, it seems there’s precedent for that approach. Writing in, “Serious Pig: An American Cook in Search of His Roots,” John Thome points out that original New England Red Flannel Hash had, “…no stigma of the leftover about it—and neither did the original corned beef hash.” To make a good hash, Kenneth Roberts, writing in his 1942 book “Trending Into Maine” says the ideal cook did it all by hand, using a wooden hash bowl and hash chopper: “The important feature…was to make sure the person doing the chopping shouldn’t be too easily satisfied, but should lovingly labor until each piece of potato and each piece of beef was cut as small as possible.”
So there you go! Red Flannel is a great way to let your latent OCD tendencies fly! To make my red flannel, I start the night before, boiling my beets and simmering a small, corned beef in the slowcooker. In the morning, I roast the potatoes & onions, saute the kale, and serve with the other ingredients in small pre-heated cast-iron skillets, topped with gently poached eggs. If my vegan friends are present, I omit the beef & eggs and add extra beets & greens. Either way, for best flavor and texture, be sure to serve the hash within 20 minutes of finishing the roasted potatoes.
Makes 6 servings
Red Flannel Hash Ingredients
- One, small (2.5- lb) corned beef roast, boiled and cooled
- 4 medium beets, boiled, peeled and cooled
- 8 medium-sized Idaho® potatoes, diced into 1/8-inch cubes
- 1 large sweet onion, diced into 1/-8-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup rice bran oil (good for high-heat)
- 4 cups kale, ribs removed, chopped
- 3 tsp olive oil, divided
- 2 garlic gloves, finely minced
- 6 eggs, poached
- 3 mini cast iron skillets (each one will serve two people)
- freshly ground black pepper and salt
- Cook corned beef according to package instructions. Cool.
- Trim tops off of beets, leaving tails on. Boil until fork tender. Cool. Wearing protective plastic gloves, cut off beet tails and peel beets. Dice into 1/8-inch dice. Reserve.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cover a 1/2-sheet pan with cooking parchment. Toss diced potatoes and onion in a bowl with 1/2 cup of rice bran oil. Spread evenly in one layer over the half sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and fresh-cracked pepper. Roast at 350 for one hour to 1 1/2 hours, using a spatula to turn potatoes and onions about half way through. Potatoes should be crisped and browned on the edges, but not blackened. Remove potatoes from oven, but turn oven up to 400.
- While potatoes roast, trim any visible fat off of the corned beef. Cutting across the grain, slice the beef into 1/8-inch slices and then cube the meat into 1/8-inch cubes. You should have about 3 cups of cubed beef. Set aside.
- In a heavy skillet over high heat, heat 1 tsp of olive oil and saute garlic until fragrant. Add chopped kale and saute until well-wilted. Remove from pan.
- Heat remaining 2 tsp of olive oil; add 3 cups diced corned beef in an even layer. Cover and allow to cook until corned beef is hot and sizzling and has developed a crust on the bottom. Stir and toss and cook one more minute. Set aside.
- Heat a large pot of boiling water; add 2 tsp vinegar. Once water is gently boiling, allow to continue gently boiling and move to your work surface to finish the hash.
- Place your small cast iron skillets in preheated 400 degree oven. While those heat, combine roasted potato/onion mixture with kale/garlic, diced beets and diced corned beef. Portion the hash into the small cast-iron skillets.
- Return to the boiling water. Crack an egg in a small heat-proof bowl. Create a whirlpool in the gently boiling water, stirring with a slotted spoon. Continue stirring the water with your right hand and with your left hand, lower the egg down to the surface of the water and gently pour it in. Keep swirling the water and cook until the egg has poached, about two minutes. Using the slotted spoon, remove the poached egg and place on the surface of the hash. Repeat, until you have two eggs layered over each skillet of hash. Serve.