Karen Wright: Corned beef hash carries many memories

Last week I made corned beef hash. Where I grew up in Featherstone it was, and still is, a very popular dish; however, it is not something that I cook very often and certainly not recently.
Corned beef hash served with Yorkshire puddingCorned beef hash served with Yorkshire pudding
Corned beef hash served with Yorkshire pudding

I had a look on the internet for methods and I was astonished how many variations there were and some of them didn’t bear any resemblance to the hash my dad used to make for us. My mum is still very much with us, but I didn’t ask her advice as I don’t remember her making it when I was a youngster. She came from Wales so perhaps they don’t make it there!

I decided to go onto a Facebook group that I am part of ‘Featherstone bygone days’ and ask the question ‘what is the best method for making corned beef hash?’. Wow, there were so many contributors to the thread! I had expected an enthusiastic response, and I certainly was not disappointed. It was very interesting reading the comments and I quickly could see that this dish carries with it memories and traditions for everyone who answered the question. I think it is this aspect of cooking that I find so fascinating, how what we eat, when we eat and how we prepare food is influenced by so many things, including childhood memories, our budget and our culture.

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I made the corned beef hash in a large pan on the stove top. I peeled potatoes and chopped them into large dice, and I cooked these in just enough water to cover them. While the water was coming to the boil, I softened a chopped-up onion and a finely diced carrot in a little oil in a frying pan. Then I added the onion and carrot to the potatoes. For seasoning, I used a beef stock pot, some Worcestershire sauce and a dollop of brown sauce. Once the vegetables were cooked, I added a little more water to get the consistency of the gravy to my liking and then added a can of corned beef that I had chopped into large chunks. I warmed this through gently so I the corned beef didn’t disintegrate entirely and seasoned it to taste with salt and pepper.

I served my hash with Yorkshire pudding but lots of my Featherstone contributors said they serve theirs with pancakes. Whichever way you make and serve yours is an individual choice, but rest assured it will always be tasty and very good value for money!