Leftover Steak & Potato Hash


When I think back to the dinners of my childhood, I’m sorry to say (Mom, especially if you’re reading this), that mostly the bad ones stand out. As a kid I was just as food obsessed as I am now, but with little control over what I had access to, and virtually none when it came to dinnertime. It was a bad day when I came home to fish for dinner. Served, in my memory at least, with warmed stewed tomatoes with little green bits in small glass cups that were probably very stylish in the 70s. Beef stew ran a close second – I still have it in my head that I’m not a fan, and am always surprised when I enjoy it – typically made with lean flank steak that had the texture of rope and got wedged in my teeth. I called it beef gum, because it gave such a good, long chew. Beef chaw, if you will.

But there is one exception: hash. Strangely enough I have no recollection of my mom making roast beef dinners, but she must have in order to use up the leftover meat and potatoes to make hash. It was finely chopped – in a meat grinder, even? – with some onion, I think, and then flattened like a pancake in our electric frying pan until it got good and crispy around the edges. I don’t think it was structurally sound enough to be cut into wedges, so it was served up as a sort of meat scramble, with lots of crispy bits interspersed throughout, and doused with ketchup. I loved it.

So I (may have mentioned the dogsitting?) found a note on A’s kitchen counter, left before heading to Mexico, that there was leftover steak and potatoes in the fridge. {Flashback to teenagehood and babysitting – finding a note to help yourself to the chips and pop – jackpot!} A couple chunks of steak and a container of roasted potatoes, with remnants of onion clinging to them. Hmm. My first instinct was to rush home and try my hand at hash.

I have eaten relatively well this week. But I think that this dish of hash beat them all – lobster gnocchi included. It brought me right back to the dinner table of my youth – long and wooden with benches, not chairs – like that scene in Ratatouille where Anton Ego gets sucked through the wormhole into his French country kitchen with a scraped knee.

The thing about hash is you can’t start with raw ingredients – it must be fashioned out of leftovers. Chop the meat and potatoes up fine – a food processor works well, just don’t turn it into paste – and cook it in a hot skillet with a bit of oil. When the bottom is looking dark attempt to flip it – it will crumble apart and then you can just move it around in the pan until it’s heated through, and serve hot, with ketchup. (Eat the ketchupy bits off the top, add more, repeat.)

I think I will go ahead and commit to going back to the daily posts for the month of April. I miss that pressure of having to report every day. (And I’m getting off the hook too easily on those oatmeal-yogurt-reheated Tim’s nights.)

One Year Ago: Banana Bread with Peanut Butter (and just look how adorable W was!)


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19 comments on “Leftover Steak & Potato Hash

  1. Anonymous
    April 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Julie you reminded me of a childhood meal too. Corned beef hash out of the tin, mixed with mashed potatoes and fried. I didn’t mind that meal. But I hated and to this day hate steak and kidney pie double uck. I also hated new potatoes in the skins when I was a kid. I just couldn’t get my head around them, Now I love em. While I was in Victoria my husband found a tin of cornbeef in the cupboard, who knows when I bought it as I don’t remember. But Cliff was making lunch for my son and himself and thought he would use up this tin of corned beef. My son called Cliff at work at lunch time and thought he had put dog meat in his sandwich, said he spat it out and couldn’t believe he found this discusting stuff in it. I think he probably has never had tined corn beef before. lol. I check your site everyday Julie in the hopes that you have posted something. Makes my day when you do.

  2. pauline
    April 1, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    oops silly me I am not anonymous its me Pauline.

  3. Pat from Ontario
    April 1, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    I used to love hash too. I remember my mom grinding the beef through the grinder attached to the table with a clamp. Thanks for the memories, Julie!

    And, thanks for the early Easter gift of reading you every day this month. (and that’s no April Fools!)

  4. mmac
    April 1, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Yuck to hash (sorry) but Yay to daily posts in April!

  5. Janice
    April 1, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Mmm – sounds like what we used to do with corned beef! The only thing I’ll ever use it for. Mix the corned beef with leftover mashed potatos and fry until crispy, then eat with lots and lots of ketchup!

  6. Erica B.
    April 1, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    I think hash and shepherd’s pie are related… I always remember shepherd’s pie being a weekday meal made from leftover potatoes and meat. The corn in the middle was usually the only “new” addition to the dish…which was also served with ketchup, at least at our table.

    Tonight I made your pesto cheese slab scones but this time filled them with some carmelized onion spread that my dear MIL gave me. Good news: 2Tb of the spread has 20 calories 1g fat… can’t say the same for pesto. Bad news(depending on how you look at it): I wanted to eat the whole cheesy tangy warm thing! Another winner! Thank you Julie!


  7. Carolyn
    April 2, 2009 at 5:46 am

    I can certainly relate to remembering the bad meals from my childhood. My most vivid memories centre around those frozen blocks of fish (who knew there were rectangular fish?), and liver cooked to resmble shoe leather. My mom would argue that she was feeding a growing family on a budget! Anyhow, I can’t wait to try this recipe next time I have some leftover pot roast.

    Thanks again, Julie!

  8. webgenii
    April 2, 2009 at 5:50 am

    My recipe for hash (circa teenage years):
    Take one pound ground beef, still mostly frozen out of the refrigerator (because you have been reading and forgotten about dinner).
    Fry it hard, no REALLY hard until the ground beef is the texture of grape nuts cereal. Add salt and pepper (no other spices allowed).
    Add frozen mixed vegetables when you remember to do so – this might be at the beginning of the cooking period or the end (luck of the draw – really).
    Realize that potatoes are missing. Make instant mashed at the last minute.

  9. Barb
    April 2, 2009 at 5:57 am

    We had a mixture of good and bad as well. We weren’t allowed to say if anything was bad however. You just sat and ate it anyway…..

  10. Sue (London)
    April 2, 2009 at 8:28 am

    First of all Pauline, I laughed out loud at your story, your son thinking his Dad made him lunch with dog meat! So funny. And Barb, we weren’t allowed to say if we didn’t like something either. But in my house, the foods I had to eat regularly and HATED were cow’s tongue, liver, beef heart, kidneys and the like. And what made it worse was I had 3 older borthers who mostly LOVED all that stuff (espeically cow’s tongue)!
    Looking forward to a post-a-day in April Julie! Happy Easter to us!

  11. robyn
    April 2, 2009 at 8:38 am

    W is so LITTLE! Such a cutie!

  12. Fiona
    April 2, 2009 at 10:52 am

    My least favorite meals as a kid were liver and onions (which thankfully made few appearances, no doubt due to its chilly reception) and pork chops cooked in mushroom soup. I don’t think she ever made hash. I do know she used to make cornish pasties out of leftover steak, veggies and potatoes, and I love those to this day.

  13. Cathy
    April 2, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    I always tried to stay at a friend’s house when I knew it was chop suey night at home. Yuck! But I always loved leftover beef and potatoes, although we didn’t call it hash … just leftover beef and potatoes. Love your blog and recipes!

  14. Theresa
    April 2, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Worst memory of a meal? OMG

    My aunt invited us over for dinner and made Swiss Steak. Florshiem delivered the meat. All the grown ups got to eat at the table and the kids were bannished to the basement. Not before you HAD to take 3 strips of meat, 3 trees of broccoli and a mound of mashed potatoes covered in oniony tomato sauce. We tried to chew it. Really we did….. then when it was obviously too much work we decided to “hide” the steak. Auntie Laureen was a sneaky sort though…… she always checked the downstairs garbage and we got “what for” if the broccoli or the meat was found in there. Theresa gets the best idea in the **WORLD**. Let’s roll the steak (that’s cut in long strips) in the CAT BOX! Oh it’s a brilliant plan!
    Two months later I found out that my aunt spent hundreds of dollars on vet bills trying to figure out why the “STUPID CAT STARTED EATING TURDS”. Poor Fluffy went to the farm……

  15. Erin
    April 2, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    OMG thats funny!!!

  16. Elizabeth
    April 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I certainly can’t top Theresa’s story. One of our ‘favourite’ family meals was our Mom’s version of “Chinese food”. It consisted of leftover roast beef mixed with a can of China Lily chop suey. That’s it. It was grey and strange looking, but far tastier than the alternative: Roast beef on white bread with gravy covering the whole lot. Anything was better than that, and I learned to cook as a form of self-defence!

  17. Donna
    April 2, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Family memories –
    My mother in law’s “copper carrots”-Some folks may love them, but combining carrot coins and tomato soup – served cold is not my idea of tasty.
    What was worse was my dad’s version of scrambled eggs. He made them in a cast iron frying pan, and it was years before I realized that scrambled eggs were not supposed to be gray.

  18. Natalie
    April 3, 2009 at 6:41 am

    The childhood meal that I never looked forward to was my mom’s shepherd’s pie. She made it with creamed corn and runny meat and potatoes. So when she plopped it on the plate, it made a squish sound and ran to the edges of the plate. I used to drown it in ketchup to disguise the taste. Oh the memories!

  19. Rima
    February 17, 2010 at 2:48 pm


    I’m looking for a recipe for your left over steak and potato hash. I have some left over steak and some steamed potatoes — wanted to do something tasty with them.


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