Red flannel hash is a riff on corned beef hash and this recipe is a vegetarian version with beets, rutabaga, and tempeh crumbles.
I was waiting for the holidays to be over to share a classic beef stew recipe I've made a few times lately. But then I woke up this morning to find that the feeling of fullness and overindulgence remained. Instead, I wanted to do some light cooking with plenty of vegetables.
what is red flannel hash?
I heard about a dish called red flannel hash while looking up ideas for cooking through my small stockpile of beets. Red flannel hash is considered a traditional New England dish, but it was the first I heard of it. Which is strange, because I've lived here my whole life. It turns out that red flannel hash is just a riff on corned beef hash, a dish I do know well. The difference between the two is the addition of beets.
People often make corned beef hash from the leftovers of a meal called the boiled dinner. Boiled dinners were on regular rotation at my grandparents' house growing up in Connecticut and today I often have it around Easter with my girlfriend’s family here in Vermont.
I never realized it was a traditional New England dish until I was older. The boiled dinner is so basic, it’s surprising to hear that not everyone throws vegetables and a hunk of corned beef in a pot of water and boils the life out of it all. Don’t get me wrong, I like a boiled dinner just fine every once in a while, but it is a blander meal than I typically enjoy. And saltier!
While red flannel hash is a riff on corned beef hash, I wanted to make a completely vegetable-based version to get over that post-holiday heaviness. So not only did I add in beets, I replaced the potatoes with rutabaga and the corned beef with crumbled tempeh. Then I added in some carrots.
a good use for root vegetables
You could just use potatoes and beets if that’s what you have. Turnips would also work well. Or use whatever combination you like, keeping the total amount of vegetables to about five cups.
In fall and winter, the produce drawers of my fridge are full of root vegetables. Beets, turnips, and carrots are the most common. They tend to grow well in my garden and they keep for weeks. You can find good deals from your local farmers, especially if you buy a few pounds worth at a time. If they get a little dried out and wrinkled, soak them in water for a few hours to help rehydrate.
Everything can be cooked ahead and formed into the hash, so it doesn’t take long to put the actual dish together. Use leftover vegetables if you have them, or cook everything a day or two ahead.
When I don't have the leftovers, I like to cut the vegetables into half-inch dice and then roast them at 375 degrees for about thirty minutes. I cook them until just tender so that they still hold their shape. You could also cook up all of the vegetables in an instant pot and chop them after.
A few words on tempeh
Alright, so the tempeh part. In this recipe, I use crumbled tempeh instead of corned beef. But what is it? It's a vegetarian protein that's worth a try. I cook with it on a regular basis, usually about once a week.
Tempeh has a savory, nutty flavor with a firm texture. Although it is made out of soybeans, unlike tofu, I think tempeh offers more versatility and flavor. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend giving it a chance. It’s quite affordable and can work well into a number of dishes.
The tempeh crumbles recipe below can be used wherever you like to use ground beef or turkey. Whenever I make this, I double the batch and freeze half to save for another meal.
I like the idea of enjoying this hash for breakfast, topped with a fried egg. But it works well for a light dinner just fine, too.PrintPrint