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Slinging Hash

These days (hey, I saw The Wire) slinging is an activity involving the sale of narcotics on a street corner. One might think then that slinging hash specifically involves the sale of the collected resin of the cannibis plant. Of course slinging hash has another meaning. The Urban Dictionary defines it as working in a restaurant as a server/waiter or anywhere in the “front-of-house” on the service side (not kitchen). Originally coined for the fast food, greasy spoon, diner waitress.

I suppose this idea of slinging hash is foreign to a generation of kids who have never eaten in a diner and never eaten hash. There are still a few diners around, but not many – I mean real diners, not designer diners, fake diners, 50’s diners and so on. Hash is that curious mixture of ingredients, often featuring beef, onions and potatoes, cooked up together and often incorporating whatever’s left-over in the fridge. There are other versions, including biksemad in Denmark and pyttipanna in Sweden, and a version from the southern USA involving leftover bbq pork mixed with bbq sauce and served over rice.

I was thinking about hash because the other day I made the fabulous bbq meatloaf I wrote about on this blog. I had plenty leftover and I thought I might make up a batch of leftover bbq meatloaf hash. Now, I didn’t have any leftover potatoes and that was a problem, but nothing that could not be overcome. I had a couple baking potatoes in the pantry so I put those into the oven to cook as soon as I got home from work yesterday.

When the potatoes were almost ready, I got out my 12 inch cast iron pan (todays post seems to be full of hip-hop culture words, doesn’t it….”slinging” and “12 inch”), splashed in some olive oil and fired up the burner, while I chopped an onion and some garlic. As the onion and garlic sizzled away, I peeled the now cooked baked potato and sliced it into the pan. I chopped up some leftover meatloaf into big chunks and tossed it in. There were some portobello mushrooms on the counter, screaming “cook me, cook me”, so I chopped in one of those, and added in corn from two cobs and shredded carrots. I tossed in a teaspoon full of my standard bbq rub (I mix this myself…it changes over time depending on what spices I have available….you can invent your own or you can use a commercial rub or spice mixture), and some dried scotch bonnets to add a kick. As this cooked up together I mixed it around with a wooden spatula and cracked open a beer.

After a few minutes, I added a generous splash of beer to the mix, and continued to mix it around with the spatula. The beer grabbed all the goodness from the bottom of the pan and the whole mixture started to take on a life of its own. Satisfied it was ready (I don’t think there are any rules about this), I added some fresh ground pepper and it was ready to serve. Since at the base of this hash is mom’s meatloaf recipe and since one of the secret ingredients is Heinz chili sauce (it’s the only thing I ever use that particular condiment for), I enjoyed my hash with a dollop of chili sauce.

If I ever went crazy and opened a diner (the thought has crossed my mind a time or two), this would be one of the featured menu items.

8 Comments

  1. sp

    mister anchovy’s would be a great name for a diner!

    Hash (the potato variety) was a favorite of mine when I was a kid. My mom usually used corned beef or ham in it since it was a “leftovers” dish.

    Hey, and let’s not forget the Grinch who steals the “last can of Who-hash.”

  2. I always remember my grandfather stirring his meal together on his plate, creating a hash out of it if you will. I was shocked by this and asked him why he was mixing it up. To this young suburban boy it looked unappetizing. His comment was, “it’s all going to the same place anyway.” This is the same guy who ordered scrambled brains one morning at breakfast when we traveled to Rock City together. The German’s have what is called a “Farmer’s Breakfast” (Bauernfrühstück) that is similar, but most closely resembles a Spanish Omelette where the eggs are overwhelmed by the other ingredients. I’ve seen it served as hash with a fried egg on top. That may be closer to the Austrian dish Gröstl. I also remember eating hash out of a can in my childhood. Yuk. Almost as bad as spam. Now hash brown potatoes, that’s another story! My favorite breakfast side dish.

  3. I was really hoping for a photo of the final product, but I know from experience that these types of creations usually taste far better than they look.

    • Sometimes I’m on the case with camera ready. In this particular case, though, I was more like fork ready! Admittedly, this wouldn’t win prizes for beauty…but served in a low-slung coloured bowl with a couple basil leaves on top on a white plate with toast on the side and a pint of ale, it wouldn’t look all that bad either.

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