Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I remember the first time that I ever tried Corned Beef Hash. I was actually in Chicago for work (oh, how I miss that city) and it happened to be St. Patrick's Day. I have to admit, even though I am Irish, I never really got into celebrating the holiday. Probably because until just recently, I could not stand the taste of beer or whiskey (well, STILL can't stand whiskey) and it seemed like that was a necessary ingredient to get into the proper spirit. Anyway...

In Chicago, they celebrate St. Patrick's Day like it's Christmas. They dye the river green, have parades, tons of parties-- it's a whole big "to-do". My former boss took a co-worker and myself to lunch at Smith and Wollenksy's on North State Street, which basically sits right on the Chicago river. We had an amazing view of the city and festivities (not to mention the BRIGHT green water), and it was the perfect time for me to try the traditional Irish dish-- Corned Beef Hash. Oh my. WHAT have I been missing? I mean, I know that the Irish aren't exactly known for their (how do I put this politely)...culinary delicacies, but this was delish--comfort food at its best.

I'm sad to say that I've never had it since, but I thought this year would be the perfect time to put my own spin on the traditional dish-- in other words, I did what I do best and made it an appetizer. Pair it with some green beer (ick) and you are ready to celebrate the luck o' the Irish!

Corned Beef Hash Bites

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 lb. cooked corn beef, chopped
1 1/2 lbs. baby new potatoes
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Irish reserved cheddar (such as Kerrygold)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley, to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Pierce potatoes and lay on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.
3. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until tender.
4. While potatoes are baking, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
5. Saute onions until they begin to become tender and translucent, but not brown (about 5-7 minutes).
6. Add chopped corn beef to saucepan; mix together with onions and then flatten into a thin layer in the saucepan. Let the mixture for about 5 minutes, until the onions and beef start to brown.
7. Flip mixture on the other side and let sit for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the beef is crispy. Remove from heat.
8. Remove potatoes from the oven and let cool, until they are easy to handle.
9. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; carefully remove the pulp from each half, leaving a thin shell in tact.
10. Sprinkle the potato shells with salt and put back in the oven for about 10 minutes, to let the shells get crisp.
11. In a small mixing bowl, blend the potato pulp with the cream cheese and sour cream. Add the beef and onion mixture, blending well.
12. Take potatoes shells out of the oven and fill each with about 1 Tbsp. of the potato, beef and onion mixture.
13. Top with shredded cheddar and broil for 5-7 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted.
14. Top with parsley for garnish.

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