Forget about Thanksgiving dinner. I can't wait until the day after Thanksgiving for leftovers. When else during the year can you look forward to turkey soup, turkey chopped liver, smoked turkey sandwiches and, above all, turkey hash in a single day? Make sure you manage to squirrel away a pound or so of the cooked turkey meat for hash.
Our word hash comes from the French verb hacher, "to chop." (Yeah, it's the same etymological root as that chopping device favored by George Washington, the hatchet.)
Hash originated as a way to use up leftovers, but it now turns up not just at hash houses (a nickname for diners) but at highfalutin restaurants from coast to coast.
The most common version of hash contains corned beef and potatoes, but you can make hash with an almost endless variety of ingredients. Rural New Englanders combined corned beef, potatoes and beets to make red flannel hash. In seafaring communities it was common to find salt cod and fish hash. Hachis Parmentier, garlicky chopped lamb and potatoes, is classic comfort food in France.
Two philosophical schools dominate the world of hash hounds. One school consists of the grinders, who like to chop the ingredients to a fine harmonious mush. The other takes a more pointilistic approach, leaving the ingredients in large pieces so you can appreciate the flavor and texture of each. My personal preference runs to the latter -- especially when it comes to turkey hash, made with meaty chunks of smoked turkey left over from Thanksgiving dinner.
Smoked Turkey Hash
2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 poblano chili, seeded and finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 stalks celery, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, including basil, sage, tarragon and/or flat-leaf parsley)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (grate it on a Microplane)
1 pound smoked turkey meat (see note)
1 pound baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes or leftover stuffing (about 2 cups)
1 cup turkey stock or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce, or to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Butter or oil for frying the eggs (optional)
2 large eggs for frying (optional)
Cut the turkey into 1/2 inch cubes. Cut the potatoes or stuffing the same way.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high flame. Add the poblano, shallots, celery, herbs and lemon zest and cook until lightly browned, 4 minutes. Add the turkey and potatoes or stuffing and cook until lightly browned, 2 minutes more.
Increase the heat to high and add the stock and hot sauce. Boil until most of the stock has evaporated or been absorbed -- 5 minutes, stirring to prevent the ingredients from scorching. Add salt and pepper to taste -- the hash should be highly seasoned. Transfer the hash to plates.
If topping the hash with eggs, wipe out the hash pan and heat 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil over high heat. Crack in the eggs and fry to taste, about 2 minutes on the bottom and 1 minute on top for over easy. Slide the eggs onto the hash and serve at once.
(Five-time James Beard Award winning author Steven Raichlen wrote "The Barbecue! Bible" cookbook series (Workman Publishing) and hosts "Primal Grill" on PBS. His website is BarbecueBible.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SRaichlen. One for the Table is Amy Ephron's online magazine that specializes in food, politics and love. http://www.oneforthetable.com/.)
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