Friday, February 10, 2012


My friend Ian, my roommate Jeff, and I all ended up at my apartment at 2 AM last Friday night and by the time we got there, all three of us were a few sails to the wind. We're talking like a War of 1812 naval battle here; we were tacking, we were heaving to, we were dropping lifeboats. My brain was about to mutiny and defect to France. Even though the three of us had converged upon the apartment from three separate taverns in the Castro, apparently all three of us had been hanging out with groups of friends who were very generous in supplying us with alcohol. So, a pint of Mexican chocolate ice cream and a few Advil later, it was time for a good night's sleep, Jeff and I in bed and Ian on couch. In summary, here is an artist's representation of Friday night.

Apparently, I had unfurled the fewest sails on Friday night, because on Saturday morning I awoke the earliest and dutifully stumbled into the kitchen to get some coffee started. Then I decided that I was hungry. It was after 10 AM and I live in San Francisco, so I knew that heading out to a restaurant for brunch would entail a 90-minute wait, and nobody was in any mood for that. Plus, I didn't know when (or if) anybody else in the apartment was going to be ready for action. So, I looked into the fridge to see what materials I had available for brunchmaking. Eggs! That's a good start. Warm and runny egg yolks are the perfect hangover cure; they bind to alcohol dissolved in your blood and also rehydrate you 50% faster than Gatorade. It's the truth--I'm an engineer. Other than eggs, our fridge seemed to be stocked mostly with root vegetables and dark greens from Jeff's farmbox.

Oh, and lamb. There was some leftover lamb from a dinner party we had hosted the previous weekend. Braised lamb ribs are not quite the best dinner party food, as they require quite a bit of middle-school dissection to extricate the tender meat. However, once you've got all the meat out they make for some great leftovers, and if you toss all of the leftovers into a pot and boil them for an hour or two, you'll end up with a stock with so much body that it gels in the fridge, from which you can skim off over a pint of pure, solid lamb fat. I forget who taught me you could do that with basically any animal leftovers, but whoever you are, thank you for being a friend.

So, root vegetables, eggs, meat, and fat. I decided to make a hash, because those all seemed like things that would go well in a hash, even though I don't make hashes very often. Really, "hash" just means "anything you want to eat mashed up together and fried until crispy", but I guess it works better with things like beets and potatoes rather than Gummi worms and cherries. Anyway, it turned out to be pretty serviceable, given the circumstances, and at least we got to avoid any further headache waiting in line for brunch in San Francisco. The advil helped avoid headaches too.

Hey, Ian seemed to dig it.


Lamb Hash for Hangovers

a large potato (a waxy one, like a yukon gold, is better)
a large sweet potato
a bay leaf
a few large, sturdy radishes
a few beets
a dark green (I used kohlrabi greens, but kale, chard, beet, and mustard greens are all good too)
olive oil
3-4 tbsp lamb fat (optional)
a cup of leftover braised lamb, shredded or diced
a few fresh eggs
a lemon
kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 400 ºF.

At some point before you get to the last paragraph of this recipe, you need to poach one egg for each person you're serving. Good luck with that! You should probably start now. As you poach the eggs, place them in a bath of lukewarm water and keep them there until you're ready to serve.

If your dark green has thick stems, remove them. Stack up the leaves and across the leaves (perpendicular to the stem) to form into thin strips, then slice across the stack of shredded leaves a few times to break them into short strips. Toss into a large bowl and fill with water. Swish your hands around in the water a few times to loosen and remove any dirt, then lift the greens out of the water into a strainer. If the leaves were especially dirty, repeat this wash one more time. Shake the strainer a few times to drain off some water, then lift the leaves out of the strainer and place them on a kitchen towel to dry.

Fill a pot with about two inches of water. Peel the potato and the sweet potato and slice each into half-inch pieces, dropping them into the water as you slice them. When they're all sliced, swish through the water with your hands for a second to stir them around, then pour out the water. Washing off some of the starch now will give you a crispier hash later. Add some water back to the pot until the vegetables are covered by about 1 inch, then add a bay leaf and several pinches of salt. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer until the potatoes and sweet potatoes are soft and cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, drain the potatoes in a colander, then pour them back into the warm, empty pot to let the last of the water evaporate off.

Meanwhile, peel and slice the beets and radishes (turnips work too) into half-inch pieces. If you're using red beets, put some gloves on before you slice them, otherwise you might look at your hands later in your hungover state and conclude that you killed someone last night. Toss them with a little olive oil and salt and roast in a large cast-iron skillet for 10-15 minutes, until soft. The beets will have a little more of a chewy bite than the softer radishes, but that's fine. Remove the beets and radishes to a small bowl.

Wipe out the cast-iron skillet. Heat up 1-2 tablespoons of lamb fat over medium heat, until it's very shiny. Add the shredded braised lamb to the skillet and cook, stirring once or twice, until the pieces are mostly crispy. Remove to the bowl with the radishes and beets.

Add another 1-2 tablespoons of lamb fat to the cast-iron skillet and cook the greens in it for a minute or so, just until they start to wilt. Add a pinch of salt and stir. Then, add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, radishes, and lamb back into the skillet. Stir to get everything covered in lamb fat, then place the skillet into the oven and bake at 400 ºF for 5 minutes, until the greens are cooked through and the hash has started to cook together.

Remove the skillet from the oven and place it on the stovetop. Cook it over medium-high heat until the bottom starts to crisp up. In the meantime, take your poached eggs and reheat them one by one in simmering water for about 15 seconds. Make a few divots in the top of your hash and nestle the poached eggs into the divots one-by-one as you reheat them. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon around the top of your hash, then top the poached eggs with a little freshly ground pepper, and some chopped herbs like cilantro and parsley.

You made it!


  1. it can be yours for just $25 a week!

    all the kohlrabi greens and romanesco you can eat.