Friday, January 26, 2007

Hash

Hash is comfort food from leftovers. You fry some onions, throw in cold meat and potatoes and perhaps some gravy, let a crust develop, and turn the mass as best you can to brown the other side. The problem, I find, is that bits of the mixture stick to the pan. I prefer to form the potato (mashed) and meat into cakes; but then the problem is that the cakes fall to bits. Binding them with flour produces a glutenous texture. As I have written before, the best technique -- though not an infallible one -- is to fry the cakes quickly and transfer them to a baking sheet in the oven before they have a chance to disintegrate.

My potatoes were not leftovers. Cooking for two of us, I cut up and simmered four medium ones until tender. I drained them and let them cool. (Their texture tightens: that is not what you want for fluffy mash, but it produces the more adherent mass you need here.) I had a small bag of sprouts -- about 150 to 200 g, I should guess. I steamed them for seven minutes, until they gave a little but retained some crunch. I chopped them roughly. I chopped a large handful of parsley. I chopped about two large handfuls of cold chicken. I mashed the potato, and mixed it with the other ingredients as well as salt and pepper. I formed the mixture into six cakes, which I fried in hot groundnut oil for a couple of minutes on each side, before giving them 10 minutes in the oven at gas mark 6/200 C.

1 comment:

The Phantom said...

Surely with a hash the joy is precisely the bits which stick to the pan. One needs to let the bits stick and brown, then stir them in, exposing more bits to the browning process.

Speaking from a personal viewpoint, I think the meal would have been nicer as Bubble and Squeak, with the chicken served seperately. Hash always seems to work better with darker meats.