Red Flannel Hash



My wife and I normally spend the holidays with friends in Vermont, where it gets COLD. And I mean COLD, like 30 degrees below zero F. at night. You figure that in a climate like this they like good, filling food. And one of the most popular dishes in Vermont, or so the locals tell me, is Red Flannel Hash. Now, I never heard of such fare until I came here. I know about corned beef hash, the great staple for Saint Patrick's day; and Yankee hash. But, red flannel hash? According to the locals, red flannel hash is a hearty dish that was popular with Vermont farmers in the old days. All it is is corned beef  that is fried along with beets (yes, beets), and then you top the thing with eggs poached in the dish. Why is it called "Red Flannel Hash?" Well, the beets would add the red color. Also, according to legend, farmers would wear red flannel underwear back then to ward off the cold. This, along with  beets, gave it its name. I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this, but locals here swear by it.

RED FLANNEL HASH

1/3 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups ground or chopped corned beef
3-4 potatoes (like like red potatoes), diced small (I like them with the skins on)
3 beets, peeled and diced small
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4-6 large eggs

1. Heat the butter in a a large skillet over medium heat (I prefer cast-iron for this task). Add onion and cook until onion is soft and translucent.
2. Add the corned beef, and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the potatoes, beets, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to mix, cover the pan and lower heat to medium-low. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes until the beets become tender. As you stir, try to scrape the bottom of the pan so that the browned bits are included. Don't worry if the potatoes begin to fall apart, that's okay.
3. When the beets are tender, crack the eggs atop the pan. cover and let the eggs poach until done. Usually it takes about 5 minutes if you like runny eggs, or 7 minutes if you desire a firmer yolk. Remove from heat and serve, scooping onto plates.
     Yield: 4-6

Photo: courtesy of CHOW


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