Orson Welles’ Roast Beef Hash

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

Everything on the Table

Everything on the Table

By Colman Andrews

Published 1992

  • About

Orson Welles was one of the most famous of Hollywood gastronomes, as legendary for the breadth of his waistcoat as for that of his talent. As long ago as 1941, in fact, columnist Sidney Skolsky wrote that Welles was the only actor ever to have had a dish named after him at Chasen’s, the ultimate Hollywood restaurant. Skolsky didn’t identify the dish, but noted that it involved “a three- or four-pound piece of roast beef.” Welles later told an interviewer that the dish referred to must have been “a roast beef hash that Dave Chasen had always made in the old days of vaudeville. I didn’t invent it. It was something he used to make late at night at Chasen’s, you know, when we’d stay up—and I liked it and finally he named it for me.” When I asked the restaurant’s long-time manager, Ronald Clint, about the dish not long ago, he told me that he doubted that the dish had ever borne Welles’ name. “We’ve never named dishes after celebrities on our menu,” he said. Nonetheless, he admitted, this simple, savory hash might well have been a Welles favorite.

* Two of Eric von Stroheim’s most famous film roles were in Jean Renoir’s La Grande Illusion (1937) and Billy Wilder’s Five Graves to Cairo (1943).

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked lean roast beef, diced
  • 2 cups diced cooked potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Combine beef and potatoes in a bowl and set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add celery, onion, and bell pepper and cook slowly for about 10 minutes. Add shallot and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Add beef and potatoes and mix together well with a rubber spatula. Add Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until crisp and brown, stirring occasionally.

Serve with mustard sauce.*

* To make mustard sauce, add 1 teaspoon good-quality mustard to 1 cup white sauce or sauce béchamel.