One of my neighbors recently lucked into several bunches of leeks and generously shared the wealth. Problem: I’ve never cooked with leeks—a funny admission from someone who likes to cook as much as I do. I dithered about what to fix—Prudence, the giver, was making a leek quiche, but quiche wouldn’t go over well here. I narrowed it down to leeks au gratin or potato/leek soup. Decided to serve it on Sunday night when we were having hash (the other part of today’s story), so I thought the soup would be too much potato.
I made the gratin the way I do for Brussel sprouts and artichokes, with a sauce of mayonnaise, aa bit of lemon, some sour cream and celery salt. What I didn’t take into account is that the artichokes and sprouts are pre-cooked, and the leeks needed to maybe be poached in broth or something. They were too crisp, their flavor too harsh—when I had assured my family they had a delicate flavor. I have fished out and enjoyed the artichoke hearts and am saving the sauce, but today may be the day to pitch the whole thing.
When I was feeding my kids, I always made hash out of leftover turkey, potatoes and gravy. So I don’t know why I’ve never thought of making hash any other time than post-holiday—or with any other meat. (With the exception of canned corn beef hash which I have been known to enjoy slathered with ketchup.)
Last week I presented Jordan with several recipes I thought might be good for Sunday supper, and she chose chicken hash. Like a newbie cook, I followed the recipe slavishly—until I realized I’ve been making hash for years and knew how to do it. Here’s what I did:
1 large baking potato
1 whole chicken breast (you could use breast of a rotisserie chicken)
2 Tbsp. butter, more if needed.
½ cup coarsely diced onion
1 small stalk celery, with leaves, sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
Pinch of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup chicken broth (I used the Better than Bouillon concentrate)
¼ c. heavy cream
Boil the potato. Set aside to cool; peel and dice coarsely—pieces about ½ inch square
Poach the chicken with salt, pepper, a bay leaf, some celery leaves, whatever you have. Set aside to cool and then dice like the potato.
Sauté onion, garlic, celery until onion is soft and translucent. Add potato and sauté until browned and a bit crisp. Add the chicken. Stir in thyme, salt, and pepper and then broth and cream. Cook over medium heat until liquid is absorbed, giving it an occasional stir. If it gets too dry—mine did—add a bit more broth. The hash should take on a lovely golden-brown color.
Serves two generously, four with smaller helpings.
Who knew that old-fashioned hash could be so good? I didn’t even need ketchup.