Slow-Cooking Roast Beef Hash

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For prior entries in this series please go here.

Hey CG:

So I have a sad tale for you. I think I found the first slow-cooker recipe where the onerousness of the prep outweighed the convenience of the slow-cooker. Sadface.

You had chosen the Roast Beef Hash for me (page 280) and since Chicago has reverted back to its wintrylike state of "spring," tonight seemed like a great night for some comfort food.

Roast beef, potatoes, eggs and Bulls basketball sounded like a good night. I actually prefer a savory brunch item to sweet so I was psyched.

I had my first spin with the foil collar (thank you for reassuring me in advance that it was okay if it didn't fit quite right: I tore some of the edges at the top to make it fit a bit better.)

I prepped by slicing the onions and pepper and the deli roast beef (I felt very proud of myself: I rolled up several slices of beef at a time and sliced up the roll, which I think was quicker and neater than trying to slice the pieces while flat).

My problem, though, was the potatoes. Per the recipe's notes, I bought a bag of hash browns (diced) and microwaved them as instructed (and actually had to go an extra 5 minutes to fully thaw them). I spread out the potatoes on layers of paper towels and dishrags and added more and more and flipped them around until I decided, "These are dry enough and if they aren't dry enough, then this recipe is just a bit of a hassle." (I'm not sure if it made a difference or not but the recipe instructed me to "drain" the potatoes, but there was nothing to drain.) Removing the potatoes from the paper towels was kind of a sticky affair).

My mouth started watering though when I added the vegetables to the fried potatoes and combined them with the roast beef, heavy cream and chipotle in adobo. This couldn't go wrong, no matter what.

Four hours later, I cracked an egg into the hash (I was the only one having egg with my hash tonight) and patiently waited for my slow cooker to beep to tell me it'd be switching from "low" to "warm." Unfortunately there was no "ding" and my poached egg was halfway to fully-cooked.

Oh well. Still, I was excited to hunker down on the couch with some comfort food. Uh, I mean, sit straight at the table with candles and classical music, chewing each bite 30 times each before swallowing.

Anyway, I think I should have put in a little bit more elbow grease with the potatoes. The resulting hash was a little gooshier and blander than I had expected and I think had I taken the time to really let the potatoes dry, it would have been crispier had had more flavor. I guess if I were to try to make it again I would start earlier with the drying of the potatoes so they could air-dry. There was an option to make the hash "extra-crisp," but it involved three extra tablespoons of olive oil: bikini season is almost here! I wish I was totally kidding. Anyway, next time around I would be a little more generous with the chipotle en adobo and also, maybe, try the deli ham instead of the roast beef since, sadly, in the end I couldn't tell the potatoes and the beef apart that much in terms of taste or texture.

I had a little bit more just now to give myself a second opinion. The hash is definitely filling, hearty and comforting but the way it turned out wasn't quite as special as I had hoped (I wouldn't have thought it fancy enough for your royal wedding brunch). I put the blame on myself for not making sure the potatoes were completely moisture-free, but I should know better than to cook (or prep) when I'm hungry.

But I ain't mad. Steve enjoyed it quite a bit with some hot sauce. Dude! I only have one more slow-cooker recipe to make before my part of the adventure is ovah. What have you been working on?