Corned Beef Hash: A New England Staple

It may seem like a common, poor man’s dish, but corned beef hash has come a long way during its time in America. With origins that trace back to England, Scotland and other parts of Europe, the version that we claim here in the States has become just as American as apple pie. It’s a part of our heritage; a part of our history. It has become an honored part of the breakfast menu in New England and all across the country.

Humble Beginnings
Any dish that starts out with diced up meat, potatoes, vegetables and spices was designed to fill bellies and satisfy a taste for warm and savory comfort food. Corned beef hash is a very satisfying meal that can be served up for breakfast with a side of eggs and toast, yet it can still stand up very well against other meat-and-potato dishes on a lunch or dinner menu.

America began eating corned beef hash on a regular basis during the World War II era. As our nation began to ration fresh meat and other staple ingredients, housewives got creative and used leftovers from dinner the night before to create a filling breakfast. However, as rationing increased, it quickly became the meal du jour, finding its way to the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Because the main ingredient was leftovers, there were many different variations. Some cooks used hash browns, while others used home fries or skillet potatoes. Most stuck with the traditional corned beef because it was affordable and available during rationing, but others used leftover roast beef instead.

Hormel, an American meat packing company, claims to have introduced the idea of corned beef and roast beef has to US consumers in the 1950s, however cookbooks and other written records show that it was definitely already a part of our diet in the 1800s. There were even restaurants in the 19th century that were called “hash houses” because it was a prominent part of their menu.

New Found Glory
Today, corned beef hash has been elevated to a whole new level and is even served in high-end restaurants. More sophisticated versions of the original recipe, as well as unique recipes that are tailored to the tastes of the region, are served all across the country. In fact, in 2012 an entire cookbook of recipes dedicated to variations on the basic corned beef hash recipe was published due to an increase in foodie interest.

Southern hash is made from a blend of barbecue pork, barbecue sauce and rice. You can find this version at barbecue restaurants throughout Georgia, South Carolina and the other southern states.

Texas hash is a southwestern variation that is made from a stew of pork, chicken and/or beef that is seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked over an open flame in a traditional hash pot. These varieties are about as far from traditional corned beef hash as they can get, but they are still a part of the growing trend.

Corned Beef Hash in Southcoast Massachusetts
If you are looking to try a real, authentic taste of good ol’ American-style corned beef hash in Southcoast Massachusetts, look no further than Persy’s Place, which has 9 different locations all throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and even out on the Cape. Their particular recipe for corned beef hash has been cooked up in their restaurants for nearly 30 years.

Recognized by both the Boston Globe and the Providence Journal, Persy’s corned beef hash is a house specialty and takes a whopping 4 hours to make just a single batch. It’s a lot of time and effort, but once you taste it, you’ll know it’s worth it in each and every bite. Served starting at 7am each and every day, Persy’s corned beef hash comes with 2 dropped farm fresh eggs for an out of this world breakfast you’ll never forget.

In addition to corned beef hash, Persy’s also has a lot of other breakfast choices. In fact, Persy’s Place has the largest breakfast menu in New England, serving a number of different pancakes, eggs, waffles, crepes, quiches, omelets and more to choose from. Stop by and try the famed Persy’s corned beef hash, which has been called, “The Best… Anywhere!”