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Eric Akis: Hearty, filling breakfast starts with tasty corned beef hash

Serve this tasty corned beef hash with poached eggs, toasted whole grain bread and ripe tomato slices
A hearty breakfast of corned beef hash topped with poached eggs. ERIC AKIS

If you have leftover corned beef from a dinner, or from making sandwiches, you’ll be a happy camper if you crave a hearty breakfast the next day or two.

That’s because you can use that meat to make corned beef hash. The “hash” in corned beef hash comes from the French “hacher,” which means to chop. A reference to how the meat is prepared before you cook and combine it with such things as potatoes and onions.

Using leftover meat in this way has been done for centuries by different cultures. But corned beef hash seemed to hit its height in popularity during and after the Second World War, when the rationing of fresh meat lead to a greater consumption of prepared meats, such as corned beef, which back then often came in can.

As noted in a previous column, to make corned beef, cuts such as beef brisket are first soaked in a brine made with salt, garlic, water and herbs and spices such as bay leaves, peppercorns and cloves. The meat is then cooked and when you make corned beef hash with it, the bold seasonings used to make it seep into and richly flavour the other items in the hash.

To make a hearty breakfast with it, you can top the corned beef hash with soft poached eggs with runny yolks that will further enhance the taste of the hash.

To complete the meal, which could also be enjoyed for lunch or dinner, serve the corned beef hash and poached eggs with toasted whole grain bread and ripe tomato slices.

Corned Beef Hash with Poached Eggs

Hash made with corned beef, potatoes and onions, plated and topped with poached eggs, creating a hearty, filling meal.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Makes: two servings

4 large eggs

1 Tbsp butter

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion

3/4 cup (about 85 grams) cooked corned beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 1/4 cups cooked, cold red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (see Note)

• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or minced green onion

• splash white vinegar

Set an eight-inch or so wide pot with about five inches of water in it over medium, medium-high heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Crack each egg into its own small bowl.

While the water you’ll use to poach the eggs comes to temperature, place the butter and oil in 10-inch or so cast iron or non-stick skillet set over medium, medium-high heat. When butter is melted, add the onion and cook until softened, about four minutes. Add the corned beef and potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook and stir until potatoes are nicely browned, about five minutes.

While corned beef hash cooks, add a drop of vinegar to the water in the pot, which should now be simmering. Swirl the water in the pan with a spoon. Gently slip each egg into the water. Cook eggs to the desired doneness, about three minutes for soft poached.

To serve, mix the parsley (or green onion) into the corned beef hash, and then set some of it on each of two plates. Top the hash on each plate with two poached eggs and serve.

Note: Two small to medium red-skinned potatoes, when cubed and cooked, should yield the 1 1/4 cups needed here.

Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.