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How to Build Your PDX Breakfast Cred

Let’s say you were on a mission to uncover the best places in Portland for breakfast. Would you a) Google it; b) head to The Pearl; or c) hire a brunch sherpa? While Google may result in an array of choices and The Pearl may suffice, the correct answer is C. Why? Because hiring a brunch sherpa […]
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Homemade Ground Beef & Cognac Mushroom Hash

They say you can never go back to re-live a moment lost in time forever. In my case, it was a retro-hashcapade, an attempt to re-create the hamburger hash that my Mom used to make to sustain our large family. I remember sitting around a crowded table and eating all the potatoes first before I attacked the undefended hamburger to extend the meal as long as possible! As for the creation of the beef hash, I vividly remember our big cast iron skillet cooking away with copious amounts of salt, some bacon grease, onions and hamburger, and diced potatoes from leftover baked potatoes.

Cast Iron Skillet – Secret Weapon or Red Herring?
Thinking the pan was the secret weapon, I busted out my cast iron skillet, pitted from past misuse and in desperate need of seasoning, but I didn’t have time. So, in went half an onion and a pound of organic hamburger. I boiled some potatoes in parallel for about 15 minutes, diced them, mixed in with the hamburger and voila, Retro Hamburger Hash! Would that it were a resounding success, but it tasted nothing like Mom’s. The store-bought hamburger was, well, pathetically small from being too finely ground and lacked mouth feel and body. As my brother would say, “It sucked scissors,” and at $6.99 a pound, I would say BIG scissors!
Retro-Hamburger Hash
Determined to reclaim my childhood, but interested in a gourmet version of this, I decided to make homemade ground beef. Several months ago, I bought an old-fashioned hand-crank meat grinder and Googled a few ideas for cuts of beef, ratios and grind. The results have been deeply satisfying – I know where the ground beef came from and the resulting dishes have been a quantum leap above store bought stuff – organic or otherwise – and cheaper per pound than organic wannabes.
Hand-Cranked Ground Beef
Next, I decided an earthy, mushroom flavor was in order and thought of a beef stroganoff I had made with sumptuous mushrooms in a thick, sauce that screamed umami. Once that idea took hold, I was off to the races with Yukon Gold potatoes bringing up the rear. The finishing touch was the creme fraiche and dill which provided creamy moisture and a touch of vibrant color.
Umami-Laden Mushroom Mixture – Yum!
Perfect Yukon Gold Potatoes – Golden with some Crust
Homemade Ground Beef & Cognac Mushroom Hash
After taking the first bite, I can honestly say this may beat my Smoked Salmon Hash. All the pieces came together in a rich, earthy, and satisfying melange with epic flavor! I hope you try this out and enjoy it as much as I did!
Happy Hashcapades,

3 Responses to “Homemade Ground Beef & Cognac Mushroom Hash”

  1. Jeff

    Hmmmm, I'm sure the hand-cranked with mushrooms and extra ingredients was better tasting, but amazing how a few specks of green, plus the garnish of creme fraiche and some fresh dill even makes is LOOK better. The importance of food styling.

  2. cowboyecho

    Thanks, Jeff! The mushrooms had a major dark color too to help with contrast. This is really, really tasty!

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