The trick to making good hash browns is getting the potato to stick together. I reckon this is best done by par-cooking them to change the starch’s character – but beware, as cooking times will vary enormously depending on varieties and the age of the potatoes you use. This recipe makes a modest amount, so I suggest making a big batch to use over coming days. Plan on making it after having corned beef for dinner if you want to avoid double work.
- 400 g (14 oz/about 2) whitefleshed potatoes such as desiree or King Edward, washed, unpeeled
- 200 g (7 oz) corned beef, shredded with your hands
- butter, for frying
- ¼ leek, white part only, finely chopped (or use onion)
- 4 poached free-range eggs, to serve
- roasted mushrooms,(optional) to serve
- sambal oelek or tomato sauce (ketchup), to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Steam or boil the potatoes whole until they’re nearly cooked, but retain some firmness. Rinse in cold water until they are cool enough to handle, then use a knife to rub off the skin (this works best while the potatoes are still warm). Mash or coarsely grate the potatoes.
Mix the warm mashed potato with the corned beef and season with salt (remembering the corned beef is salty) and freshly ground black pepper. Melt a little butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the leek and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add to the potato and corned beef mixture and allow to cool.
Divide the potato mixture into eight portions and use your hands to roll each portion into a ball – you may need to mash it all up and press it together to get it to stick.
Heat a little more butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Gently squash the potato balls into the pan to make patties and cook for about 3–5 minutes, or until deep brown on one side, then turn and cook the other side, adding just a touch more butter if you like. Serve the corned beef hash with soft poached eggs and perhaps some roasted mushrooms and sambal oelek on the side.
Text and images from Winter on the Farm (Murdoch Books) by Matthew Evans. Photography by Alan Benson.