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This is How We Do Leftovers

April 8, 2009

Contrary to popular belief, I do not cook every day (unless I’ve planned badly). I cook about three days a week, and make enough to get two night’s worth of dinner out of each cooking session.  And I don’t cook on the weekends, unless we’re having company, it’s a holiday, or I get a bug to make something that takes all day.

This means we eat a lot of “leftovers.” But leftovers Chez Gayle are not just pallid, reheated versions of a previous night’s meal. I repurpose everything. So, the remains of a roasted chicken might turn up as part of a pasta sauce, a soup, a pizza…you get the idea.

Last night’s dinner was leftover corned beef and potatoes turned into hash — one of Mr. Alfa’s absolute favorite foods in the world. It ranks right up there with any kind of pasta and Chex Mix in his book. I’m not a big fan of breakfast for dinner, but this hash might change my mind.

So, today, you get two recipes — Crockpot Corned Beef with the Usual Suspects and Gayle’s Greasy Spoon Hash.

Crockpot Corned Beef with the Usual Suspects

3 lb corned beef

Handful of baby carrots

10-12 baby potatoes, quartered (I used a mix of red bliss, yukon gold, and purple potatoes)

1 small green cabbage cored and cut into 8 pieces

3 tbsp. grainy mustard

3 bay leaves

Spice packet from corned beef

4 allspice berries (optional)

1 bottle of cheap lager (finally, a good use for Budweiser)


  1. Trim as much fat as you can from the corned beef. It’s a nasty job, but you’ll be glad you did it later.
  2. Put the bay leaves on the bottom of the crockpot, then top with the carrots and potatoes.
  3. Coat the corned beef with the mustard, and set the hunk of slippery meat on top of the veggies in the crock.
  4. Pour the whole bottle of beer around the meat — not over it.
  5. Add the spice packet and allspice, if using it, to the liquid.
  6. Tuck the cabbage wedges around the corned beef. Smash it all down with the lid.
  7. Cook about 8 hours on low.

This will feed 6 people, or 2-3 really hungry people with enough leftovers to make the next recipe….

Gayle’s Greasy Spoon Hash

Leftover corned beef, diced (about 2 cups)

Leftover potatoes, diced (about 3 cups)

1 large onion, diced

Lots of olive oil


  1. Coat the bottom of the biggest skillet you can lift with a liberal amount of olive oil. Heat until the oil is shimmering.
  2. Add the onions and saute over medium-high heat until they just get translucent.
  3. Add the corned beef and potatoes, press down with a spatula, add a liberal amount of fresh ground pepper, and crank the heat up to high.
  4. Leave this for about 5-7 minutes. Don’t peek, don’t poke, don’t stir. It needs to form a good crust.
  5. When you absolutely can’t stand ignoring the pan any longer, stir the whole thing up. Bring the crusty bits to the top and the pale parts to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Repeat this process 2-3 more times, until everything is crusty.
  7. Divide this up between as many plates as you need to fill and top with a couple of eggs over easy.
  8. If at all possible, get someone else to scrub the crusty pan for you.
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