Mountaineer Hash: The Ultimate Ground Beef and Rice Recipe
Recipe Source: Old Timey Recipes, copyright 1969
This collection of recipes from some of the best cooks of the Carolinas, the Virginias, Tennessee and Kentucky are old family favorites handed down through two or more generations…Some of the contributors of these recipes gave us permission to use their names, others declined because they did not want to take credit for something which they consider to be common knowledge.
The foreword in this cookbook makes one thing very clear: Oh, how times have changed!
Old Timey Recipes was first published in 1969 and was popular enough to inspire numerous editions. The exact number is unclear; the highest I can find is the 17th edition, published in 1990. It features a collection of handwritten recipes with simple and sometimes imaginative names like Husband’s Choice or Mountaineer Hash. There are also recipes for moonshine, home brew, and parsnip wine. I’m saving those for later.
About the Dish
In cooking terms, hash refers to a method of preparation rather than a specific recipe. The name comes from a French word meaning to chop, and sure enough, a hash is made with a variety of ingredients that are chopped for preparation. Meat, potatoes, and vegetables are common (think corned beef hash), but a hash can incorporate a wide variety of different foods. While there is no definitive “mountaineer hash” — this name appears to be the invention of the person who submitted the recipe — it does contain the essential ingredients and cooking techniques to be considered a true hash.
Mountaineer Hash was contributed to the Old Timey recipe collection by Mrs. O. T. Powers. It is a simple recipe that reminds me of a stuffed pepper put through a food processor. It’s basically the same ingredients, minus the cheese, chopped into a hash. I love stuffed peppers but rarely get to make them because one of my family members is lactose intolerant, so this recipe instantly spoke to me as a win-win. Best of all, it’s a simple recipe that uses ordinary ingredients most people have in stock. The seasoning is simple with just enough chili powder to be perfectly flavorful and warm, but not so overpowering that tender-mouthed dinner guests couldn’t enjoy it.
I found an uncredited online copy of this recipe on cooks.com. There are also recipes for Mountain Man Hash, which are cooked in a dutch oven over an open fire.
The original recipe calls for cooking together 1 medium chopped onion and 1 medium chopped pepper in 3 TB of butter until the onion is yellow. Add 1 pound ground beef and saute until mixture falls apart. Add 2 cups canned tomatoes, 1 teaspoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ cup uncooked rice. Mix and pour into a greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
How I Cooked It
No offense to Mrs. O. T. Powers, but I made a few changes. I altered some of the proportions to fit my family’s tastes, like reducing the onion. I increased the amount of ground beef and green pepper. Lastly, I choose to use cooked rice instead of uncooked rice. This meant that I didn’t need the last step, cooking in the oven for 45 minutes. I made this change because the only liquid in the dish is from the canned tomatoes. I was concerned it wouldn’t be enough liquid to cook the rice all the way through. Nothing is worse than having the entire dish done and then biting into hard, uncooked rice. I have been burned many times by rice casseroles, so I don’t take the chance any more. I just cook the rice separately.
- ½ medium onion (my family has an aversion to onion so I have to tone it down)
- 2 green bell peppers
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 ½ teaspoons Ancho Chili Powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- Chop onion and bell pepper and saute in butter until onion is translucent.
- Add ground beef and saute until mixture falls apart.
- Mix in 2 cans diced tomatoes, chili powder, pepper, and salt, and bring to a simmer
- When water from tomatoes is simmered out, mix in cooked rice.
That’s it. Supper is ready!