Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hash! (Pie?)

Of all things, it was browsing through the 1971 edition of the Joy of Cooking that I rediscovered the concept of hash. That version, called Red Flannel Hash, is essentially a repurposing of New England Boiled Dinner, which is corned beef, various root vegetables, and cabbage. So you chop up the leftovers, maybe add an egg or some milk to bind it together, then put it in a hot pan, fry it till it's nice and crusty, and you've got hash.

Over the last couple months, I have been redeploying hash in lots of unlikely ways. Iv threw a surprise NC-style BBQ birthday party for me a couple months ago, and I used the leftover pork, potatoes, collards, and whatever else to make a most excellent hash. Another time, I used leftovers from some kind of crazy Indian dinner that somehow involved beets, stewed eggplant, and something else I can't remember, mashed them all together, and made some delicious crap that tasted like something the Bollywood Waffle House would serve up.

So tonight, it was vegan hash. Kind of. I had the leftover Greek potatoes from the other night, Iv's spaghetti with homemade sauce (mirepoix, represent!), some leftover vegan cutlets, and some tomato paste to use as a binder. I mashed up the potatoes, diced the cutlets, and loosely chopped the spaghetti. I heated some olive oil in my trusty twelve-inch cast iron skillet, and dropped the mixture in.

Whereupon it immediately became clear that this wasn't going to be a hash. See, for a hash to work, there has to be little enough that you can flip it with a spatula, and after getting this stuff in the pan, I found that the mass of stuff was so big, that just wasn't going to happen. So I just spread it out so it was more like a pie, kept it on low heat on the stove so it would develop a bit of a crust, then put it in the oven on 325 for 15 minutes.

Once I pulled it out, I sliced it up like a pie, but it didn't hold together well. So, not very photogenic, which means you get no pictures. But, seriously people, this was delicious. Turned out that it was better than the potatoes, the spaghetti, or the chickpea cutlets. Vegan comfort food, people. Learn to use your leftovers.

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