I love old time Hollywood. When I heard that Ryan Murphy was developing the show Feud: Bette and Joan which chronicles the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford during the production of their 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? I was very excited. What is the appeal of old-time Hollywood? I’m not sure, but I knew that I wanted to do something to get in the mood to watch the show.
A few years ago, knowing my love of days of yore, food and my quirky sense of humor, a long-time friend, who has an equally perverse sense of humor, gifted me The Dead Celebrity Cookbook – A Resurrection of Recipes from More Than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen by Frank DeCaro. This cookbook is a fascinating read even if you don’t have any intention of using any of the recipes. Each recipe has a page before it that gives a bit of information about the celebrity just in case you are not sure who they are. Interspersed are a few more pages of additional trivia about celebrities, shows or the culture of the olden days. Celebrities in the book include Gloria Swanson (a supposed health food aficionado), Gary Coleman, Lucille Ball, Gene Roddenberry, Eartha Kitt, Edith Head, and Liberace (whose recipe for “Liberace’s Sticky Buns” sounds like a joke…but they’re seriously good!) Why not see if there was something I could cook to get in the mood for Feud? What could Bette or Joan maybe be making for dinner years ago?
The entry for Joan Crawford is for her version of Poached Salmon. Hmm. I am not a huge salmon fan. Let’s see what Bette may be cooking. All right, this sounds more promising, Red Flannel Hash. Basically, a combination of corned beef, potatoes, and beets…mixed with cream and cooked in butter. Close Bette, but no cigarette. But more to my liking than salmon, so I decided to give Bette’s recipe a try.
Give it a try. I actually thought it was quite good!
Here is Bette’s recipe:
Red Flannel Hash
2 cups cooked corned beef
3 cups cold boiled potatoes
1 ½ cups cooked beets
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup or more of cream
½ stick of butter
Chop all ingredients and combine in a large bowl. Season to taste and moisten with cream. Place in a hot buttered heavy skillet. Stir and spread evenly in a pan. Brown slowly over medium heat. Serve with poached eggs on top.
I went out and bought cream, and then just used a few splashes from a half pint container. It’s just used to moisten the dish. I don’t know that it added anything else to the dish. Next time I may just use milk, or being lactose intolerant, I may try almond milk.
I didn’t use a ½ stick of butter – more like a ¼ of a stick. The corned beef that I used had a fair amount of fat on it despite me removing the small cap of fat from the outside of the meat. Therefore, I knew there was already going to be a good amount of fat in the pan. Even with the ¼ of a stick, there was a lot.
I didn’t take the time to poach eggs. I just made some nests in the hash, cracked in some eggs, and fried some eggs right in the hash. To make sure they cooked on top, I added just a bit of water to the pan and covered for a minute or two until they were cooked.