Written by Dotty Winters

Food

I make the best… corned beef hash

After a snap poll of Standard Issue staffers, we came to the conclusion everyone has a signature dish they’re willing to brag about. If you haven’t tasted Dotty Winters’ corned beef hash, you’ve still to taste the best.

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Corned beef ‘hashagne’. Form an orderly queue, please.

Name: Dotty Winters

I Make the Best… Corned beef hash

Fuller dish description: When it comes to nutritious, crowd-pleasing winter warmers, I think corned beef hash is hard to beat (if you don’t like corned beef or are a veggie/veganyou may want to skip the rest of this).
Over the years, my personal version of this classic stodge has evolved into a three-layered wonder, topped with crispy cheese breadcrumbs and with a cream cheese white sauce layer. A ‘corned beef hashagne’ if you will.
It’s super easy to make, pleasingly nostalgic, and gives you loads of leeway on quantities and cooking time which makes it the perfect fit for a wide variety of winter activities. For extra ease it really doesn’t matter if you make it with instant or frozen mash – you are about to eat a delicious tin of mystery meat, now is not the time to get precious about your potatoes.

When did you first make it? I think I probably first started experimenting with hash as a student, but this dish has definitely got bigger and better over the years.
I’m not sure why corned beef hash isn’t more readily available. It seems like the sort of thing you could probably get served in an enamel mess tin in a hipster café somewhere, and I’m sure that someone on The Great British Menu has probably served quenelles of the stuff with a poached quail’s egg, smoked fennel foam and a spelt wafer, but I think you should be able to get this at your local chippy.
Ooooh, or you could totally adapt a Mr Whippy machine and serve warm corned beef hash from a pimped up ice cream van.

“You are about to eat a delicious tin of mystery meat, now is not the time to get precious about your potatoes.”

When did you realise it was the best? One of my friends is only willing to spend time outside in winter in exchange for this corned beef hash. It is testament to the impressive calorific content of this dish quite how far some friends are willing to walk before lunchtime in order to justify seconds.

beef2How often do you make it? This dish is one for when emergency-level comfort is required. For best results it should be eaten rarely, on snowy days, after sledging, with a large group of hungry friends.
You should judge quantities so that it appears to be an insurmountable food mountain, but consume it with enough conversation and beer that eventually every last drop will be scraped from the dish.
If you misjudge and make too much, fear not; it makes for an incredible sandwich or toastie filling the next day.

Have you ever tasted anyone else’s version of this, which had you worried? Corned beef hash is a hard thing to find when you are out and about on your travels. I had a kinda splendid one for breakfast once in Chicago (I know, get me!) and it definitely gave me pause for thought, but that was before I added two extra storeys to my hash and blew the competition out of the water.

Is this the only thing you make well? If you can make it on one big plate, or stew it in a massive casserole dish I’ve got it covered.

Ingredients
Precision isn’t really important with quantities here, but for a 6-8 portion quantity for hungry grown ups you’ll roughly need:

6 large potatoes – mashed (or one pack of frozen mash)
1 can of corned beef
6 spring onions finely chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced and fried until golden
1 large tin sweetcorn, and approximately the same quantity of frozen peas (You can mix and match what you add- chopped carrots, asparagus, broccoli, broad beans, and chopped chives or parsley all work well.)
Plenty of grated cheese
1 tub cream cheese
Breadcrumbs
Butter, flour and milk for white sauce
Black pepper

Method
Choose a massive casserole dish or baking tin. Preheat oven to 180°C.

For the bottom layer mix cooled mash with corned beef, and then mix in all the veg (you can fling the frozen veg in without defrosting), lots of grated cheese and plenty of ground black pepper.

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Gone big on the cheese? GO BIGGER.

You want a relatively solid texture, but not too dry. It should look like it will hold some shape when you serve it. Set aside.

Make a thick white sauce (make a roux from butter and flour, and add milk slowly, allowing the sauce to thicken – just like in Home Economics in Year Four).

Stir in the cream cheese.

The sauce shouldn’t be too sloppy, or the finished dish will slop everywhere (but it’ll still taste delicious). Spread a generous layer of sauce over the corned beef mixture.

Sprinkle breadcrumbs and grated cheese over the white sauce. If you are going on a very long walk you can assemble to this stage and bake it later. If not, stick it in the oven for at least 40 minutes until it’s bubbling and the top has browned slightly.

Serve as a massive help-yourself centrepiece or pretend to be fancy and dollop it into individual serving dishes and bung some parsley on it. You can accompany this with salad, any green veg, baked beans, crusty bread, or if you have a particularly hungry crew, all of the above.

Find out what our other contributors make best of all here.

@DottyWinters

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Written by Dotty Winters

Nascent stand-up, fan of fancy words, purveyor of occasional wrongness, haphazard but enthusiastic parent, science-fan, apprentice-feminist.