Canned corned beef is kind of…how do I put this? It’s kind of like dog food. Its pretty gross, to be honest. When you peel open the lid of the can your nostrils get punched with a pungent preserved meat smell. You know during thanksgiving when you open the cranberry sauce and it all comes out in one gelatinous lump in the shape of the can? Its the same thing for canned corned beef…except its meat. Have I made you want to make this canned corned beef hash with sweet potato and frozen hash browns recipe yet?!
In all honesty, I picked up a can of corned beef at the store because I know there are a lot of people out there who purchase it and don’t have a whole lot of options for recipes. It’s definitely not my favorite pantry item, but it deserves our love just as much as the rest! I also decided to use frozen hash browns for this recipe, as they are an easy breakfast item that can be stored in the freezer for months.
What actually IS canned corned beef?
Canned corned beef is a variety of different cuts of meat from a cow that are cooked for a long time to yield a fatty broth. The meat is then stripped of its fatty and connective tissues, is mixed with curing salts and is then sterilized. The cuts are usually ‘nose to tail’, meaning every bit of the cow can be used for canned corned beef. Spices and sugars are added to improve the flavor. Salt is added to preserve the meat and helps to carry the sugar and spices throughout the meat. Nitrates turn the beef that reddish/pink color. There is not a lot of information out there on the process of obtaining the meat for canning, as the canning companies believe it would likely put people off from eating it. I think that whatever we are thinking in our imaginations, it is probably worse.
The difference between the corned beef we eat on St. Patricks day and the canned stuff is that with the homemade stuff, the meat is cooked before adding the curing salts. This is done because you cannot add the curing salts before cooking if you want to obtain the meat extract.
If you are looking for a way to store your extra frozen foods, I would definitely recommend ordering an upright freezer for your basement or garage! Store your extra meats and frozen fruits/vegetables here so the freezer in your kitchen doesn’t over flow! Check out this ‘Koolatron 3.1 cu. ft. Upright Freezer‘
Making caned corned beef taste good:
This is no easy feat. In this recipe, I boiled a sweet potato and mashed it to add some sweetness to the extremely salty meat. I tossed in some onions and zucchini for a healthy crunch, as mashed potato and gelatinous meat need to be balanced with something that you can bite. The frozen shredded potato provides the starch and density. And runny eggs add a great boost of familiar protein. I also added homemade hollandaise sauce to my recipe, however hot sauce or ketchup (if you like that on your breakfast food) is an easier option.
Canned Corned Beef With Sweet Potato and Frozen Hash Browns
- 1 small zucchini, washed and chopped into small cubes
- 1 15oz can of corned beef hash
- 2 cups frozen hash browns
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into large cubes
- 1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
- 4 large eggs, depending on how many people you are serving and how many eggs you want
- 1 handful shredded cheese: any cheese works, I used cheddar
- 3 tbsp parsley, scallions as garnish
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees (you will be broiling the casserole at the end for a crispy top)
- Place a pot filled with enough water to cover sweet potatoes over high heat until the water boils. Toss in sweet potatoes and boil until a fork easily goes through the potato, about 12 minutes. At this point, drain the water and mash the sweet potatoes using a hand held masher.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet. Cook onion and zucchini in skillet for about 5 minutes, making sure onion and zucchini are still crunchy and not overcooked.
- Now add your can of corned beef hash. Mix to combine with the onion and zucchini and smear so that a thin layer coats the bottom of the skillet. Leave untouched on medium/high heat for about 3 minutes to form a quick crust.
- Now toss in your frozen shredded potatoes and a handfull of cheese: stir to fully combine. Mash down again so that the mixture fills the entire skillet and let cook for about 3 minutes again so the bottom forms a crust. Mix and do this one more time.
- Now carefully place the cast iron skillet in the oven on the top shelf and broil under the broiler until the top turns light brown, about 4 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it to prevent burning.
- Take out, make 4 wells in the hash and add one egg to each well (I made wells by pressing the top of a thick glass into the mixture and scooping out the circle). Cook for another 3 minutes over medium heat until the whites of the egg are no longer translucent. The yellow yolk should still be runny.
- Garnish with parsley and/or scallions. Cut a wedge for each egg and serve with hot sauce, ketchup, hollandaise sauce or by itself. Enjoy!
- If you have fresh corned beef or left over corned beef from a sandwich, you can use this in replace of the canned corned beef.
- If you don’t have zucchini, this is okay! Just use whatever ‘crunchy’ vegetable you have in your kitchen. Carrots work, as does broccoli, summer squash and bell peppers!
Did you enjoy my ‘Canned Corned Beef Hash With Sweet Potato And Frozen Hash Browns’ recipe? If so, go check out my ‘Butternut Squash Boats With Sausage, Eggplant and Toasted Chick Peas‘ recipe!