When a friend suggested she’d bring along a lovely pot of corned-beef hash and baked beans for us to eat on the first night of a camping trip, I felt a little queasy. Having no other food options other than a few marshmallows and a packet of crisps, I took a deep breath and tentatively tucked in. Swallowing my pride I had to admit that actually, it was rather nice, and I wouldn’t be averse to eating it again – but not too soon….
With a vegetarian husband and a fussy toddler – when do you stop calling a child a toddler? He’s three-and-a-half and will be starting school next September, so maybe I’ll start calling him the boy, but not yet….but I digress. So, with the husband being a non-meat eater (if you can actually call corned beef meat), a re-make of the campfire dinner was out of the question. Luckily, my food heroine Anna Jones, came to the rescue with her butternut squash and sweet leek hash – a recipe from her new book a modern way to cook.
As the title suggests, it’s a comforting mix of caramelised leeks, butternut squash and new potatoes, boiled then fried in coconut oil and topped with a couple of perfectly fried eggs and a leeky crème fraiche dressing.
According to the book it takes 30mins from chopping to chowing down on this tasty number, and it was pretty much spot on. The most time-consuming bit was the chopping, but even that didn’t take too long – and I don’t mind admitting, I love a bit of chopping. I find it quite therapeutic, especially after a trying day. Chop, chop, chop…
Coconut oil appears to be the in-thing to cook with at the moment, and while I’m a little late to the coconut oil party, it definitely adds an extra something to dishes, I’m not sure I’m 100% taken by it, and will opt for my pal olive oil if I make this particular recipe again. I don’t think coconutty undertones added anything to it
As for the hash, it did what I expected and made for a lovely comforting supper.
The verdict from the husband: ‘That was alright.’ He really needs to work on his comments.
The verdict from the cook: ‘I’d make it again, and maybe adapt it slightly, depending on what I’ve got in the fridge.’
Serves 2, or 4 with eggs
- 2 leeks
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
- 400g new potatoes
- ½ medium butternut squash
- a few fresh chives
- a few sprigs parsley
- 4 tbsp crème fraiche
- ½ a lemon
- a crumble of Lancashire or Cheddar cheese (optional)
- 4 free range eggs (optional)
- Wash and finely shred the leeks, then add them to a pan with a little coconut oil. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes.
- While the leeks are cooking, cut the potatoes into 1cm pieces and put them into a large saucepan. Pour over boiling water from the kettle and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Deseed the squash and cut into pieces about the same size as the potatoes. Once the potatoes have had 5 minutes, add the squash to the pan of boiling water for a final 3 minutes of cooking. Once the potatoes and squash have had their time and have softened a little, drain them and leave them in a colander to steam dry a little.
- Spoon 3 tablespoons leeks into a deep bowl or jug. Turn the heat up under the leek pan, add a little more oil if necessary, then add the potatoes and squash and fry, turning every couple of minutes, but not too often – you want to allow each side enough time to build up a bit of a golden crust.
- Chop the herbs and add them to the reserved leeks. Add the crème fraiche, the juice of half a lemon and some salt and pepper and blitz well with a hand-held blender.
- Keep turning the hash in the pan until it’s all nicely golden. If you’re using cheese, crumble it on top now. And if you are having eggs with the hash crack them into the pan, pop a lid on top and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny. (Alternatively, you could just fry a couple of eggs in another pan).
- Serve the hash with the leek and herb dressing scattered over. Be sure to stir it through before you eat.
Adapted from Anna Jones’ a modern way to cook.