Ingredients

FOR THE CORNED BEEF
1½kg brined corned beef
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stick celery, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
8 whole peppercorns
8 whole cloves
⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup malt vinegar
FOR THE PEA HASH
1kg Agria potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 cup spinach, coarsely chopped
½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped
TO SERVE
cooked corned beef
canola oil
pea hash
6-12 eggs spicy mustard (substitute with Dijon or Hot English)

Three ingredients I simply adore – corned beef (hot or cold), peas (fresh, frozen, even the dehydrated ‘Surprise’ variety) and eggs any which way.

I grew up on the farm eating corned beef most weeks. We would kill a steer once a year and while the fillets and roasts were always enjoyed, to me there was always something exotic about a large ‘chunk of pink’ simmering away in a pot with its familiar perfume of malt vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaves and vegetables permeating the air. Always served with mash, cabbage, leeks and mustard sauce, it could never be described as a pretty dish but, comforting and satisfying to the soul, there was nothing better.

I have accompanied my beloved corned beef here with a pea hash, which is also a kind of throwback to ‘bubble and squeak’ that was often served the next morning for breakfast made with the previous night’s leftovers. Crowned with a couple of fried eggs with runny yolks, a lick of hot mustard and a pot of coffee, that’s nostalgia right there!

"I grew up on the farm eating corned beef most weeks. It could never be described as a pretty dish but – comforting and satisfying to the soul – there was nothing better."

Instructions

1.FOR THE CORNED BEEF
2.Put all the ingredients in a large pan.
3.Add enough cold water to cover the corned beef by a couple of centimetres.
4.Bring to the boil over a high heat then turn the heat down to a rolling simmer and cook for approximately 2½ hours.
5.Remove from the heat, and leave in the cooking liquid until ready to serve, or refrigerate in the liquid until required.
6.FOR THE PEA HASH
7.Put the potatoes in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with cold, salted water.
8.Bring to the boil, reduce the temperature to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes until soft but not completely falling apart.
9.Add the peas to the same pan and cook for 3 minutes longer. Remove from the heat, drain and cool on a tray.
10.Put a large frying pan on a medium heat.
11.Add the canola oil and sliced onions and cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
12.Add the chopped spinach and cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and cool.
13.Put the onions and spinach in a suitably sized mixing bowl and add the cooked potato and peas.
14.Toss in the chopped parsley, then mix together with clean hands, until it starts to break down and bind together.
15.Season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then refrigerate until required.
16.TO SERVE
17.Cut 6 thick slices of corned beef.
18.Heat a large, cast-iron frying pan on a medium heat and add a splash of canola oil.
19.Add the corned beef and cook on both sides, then remove from the pan and keep warm in the oven.
20.Lightly brush the pan with a little more oil.
21.Add the hash to the pan and spread to a thickness of about an inch.
22.Fry for at least 5 minutes without disturbing it, as you want to create a crunchy crust.
23.Turn and repeat on the other side. It’s ready when it is heated through.
24.In a separate frying pan, fry the eggs to your liking.
25.Dish up a slice of corned beef, with a hearty serving of pea hash.
26.Top with a fried egg or two.
27.Serve a lick of spicy mustard on the side for a flavour kick.

Photography Jason Creaghan

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