I’ve had a love affair with hash since I was a kid (the kind you eat, not smoke – though that hash and I did have an affair to remember some years ago). Hash was my favorite ‘leftover’ meal. Well, I did like those leftover cold eggplant parmesan sandwiches my mom put in my lunch box if there wasn’t enough for a second meal, but I digress.
Using one of those old meat grinders you screw to a counter stop, Mom would grind up leftover lamb or roast beef, add potatoes and peas and I don’t know what else and sauté it all in a skillet on the stove. Then she’d poach some eggs, plop them on top and serve. She always cooked the eggs just right… firm whites and runny yolks. I’d pop that yolk with a fork and let it run into the hash, mix it all up, add a little salt and I was in hash heaven.
After my dad died Mom went back to work in advertising on Madison Avenue where she started as a secretary, then was promoted to copywriter (though her desk was still in the secretarial pool and she often had to type letters for the male execs - all on a $1.00 more a day then she made as a secretary). She was my very own Peggy in “Mad Men”.
Commuting from Bayside, Queens, Long Island into Manhattan didn’t allow her time to cook as much, so I took over making many of our basic week day dinners for our little family – my brother, my mom and me. I broiled steaks, baked frozen French fries and heated up Campbell’s Pork & Beans. I fried or boiled hot dogs and heated up Campbell’s Pork & Beans, broiled ham steaks or swordfish and heated up Campbell’s Pork & Beans… a favorite of mine was broiled lamp chops, frozen spinach or peas, and heated up Campbell’s Pork & Beans… Have you caught the theme here?
My brother pleaded with my mother to stop buying Campbell’s Pork & Beans. But the one meal he did love was my hash and eggs. Not my mother’s hash, but Broadcast’s canned corned beef hash. I can still sing the jingle – those Mad Men were good! What did I know? Of course, it never occurred to me to make the hash from scratch.
When I got out of college and moved into Manhattan, I still made that canned hash and eggs. For years I worked at “Black Rock,” CBS’ headquarters on 6th Avenue and on the ground floor was a wonderful restaurant named - what for it....... “Ground Floor” where I would often go to lunch, along with "network mad men" known as "suits." Unlike the "suits," however, I didn't go there for 2 martini, expense account lunches - I went because the Ground Floor served hash. So whenever I would crave this ‘leftover’ marvel, I didn’t have to wait til I could open a can to heat up for dinner. I could have it mid-day!
Sometimes I still crave hash and eggs, but my husband won’t touch it (dog food, he says), so I’d wait until he was on the road with some TV show he was writing for and I’d run to the market and buy a can of hash (I’d also buy skirt steaks for alternate dinners because he won’t eat those either, but I digress yet again). On those nights, I’d heat up that canned hash and plop that poached egg on top, light a little candle on the coffee table and dig in while I watched ABC World News Tonight. Again, hash heaven.
Recently I was browsing through one of my many design magazines (my other life) and saw an article about chefs who surf in Coastal Living. One of these chefs was Micah Fields of the Venice California restaurant named… HASH! It was a sign! A real chef making hash! If a gourmet chef named his restaurant ‘Hash’ – then maybe my husband (a fine cook, himself) would pay attention to this delectable delicacy. I gave him the article which included a recipe for “Day-After-Thanksgiving Hash.” Last night he indulged my hash habit.
Of course, it wasn’t the day-after Thanksgiving, but I was so excited he was willing to do all that slicing, dicing and chopping, I agreed to bake a boneless, skinless chicken breast for him to use instead of leftover turkey.
The recipe also called for fried eggs instead of poached. Fine with me. Over easy, please!
Did my husband like the results of his slicing, dicing, chopping, sautéing, frying labor? Yup, he did. Hash is no longer ‘dog food.’
And after dinner, I was in such hash heaven afterglow, I craved a cigarette. Ha. Just kidding.
So, if you’re wondering what to do with your Thanksgiving leftover turkey (or leftover roast chicken) besides making turkey (chicken) soup, we both recommend a little hash, sautéed not smoked (well, unless you have smoked turkey).
CHEF MICAH FIELDS’ DAY-AFTER-THANKSGIVING HASH
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup diced sweet potato
1 cup green beans, cut into 1/4 –inch pieces
2 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
1 Washington apple, diced
1 Gala apple, diced
1 pound smoked turkey breast, diced (or my ingredient: whatever leftover turkey meat)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage or
2 teaspoons dried sage
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 large eggs, cooked to desired doneness
Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; add sweet potato, and cook 3 minutes. Add green beans; cook 2 minutes or until sweet potato is barely tender and beans are crisp-tender. Drain.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and apples, and cook, stirring often, 6 minutes or until apples begin to soften. Add potato mixture, turkey, and next 3 ingredients; cook stirring often, 5 minutes or until apples are lightly browned and turkey is heated through.
Divide hash among 6 plates; top each with 2 fried eggs, and serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.