My father, the lifelong cook and chef to many, was revered for a host of of real country South Carolina dishes that were beyond peer. The very expansive and spread out Cheeseboro family to this day strive to meet his level of cooking excellence, bringing great flavor and love to seemingly the most basic of dishes.
What I learned from him was to keep the "roots" of a dish simple and true, then to interpretively present it through the filter of my own personal passion and experience. It wasn't long many years of cooking by his side in the kitchen, trying to do exactly as he did, when he finally told me, eventually you're going to have to stop try to make my food and learn to make your food.
But his food was so good, and with me being born here in the city, my father—who grew up in very rural Orangeburg, South Carolina—had recipes that weren't available to me anywhere else in Gotham.
One of those recipes is a dish called hash, but not the corned beef variety thats slung in diners buttressing eggs. This Carolina-style hash is more of BBQ stew of meat—usually ground chicken or pork, and meant to be served over rice. My dad liked to use chicken gizzards (must be where I get my love of gizzards from); they're economical, as they are usually much cheaper than even the darker meat cuts of chicken, and more importantly, they possess more of that earthy sweet dark meat flavor, and have a great bite texture to boot.
I'm such a fan of the texture of cooked gizzards, that for my hash, I don't even put them through the grinder. After tendering them in a simmering covered pot of salted water for about an hour, I chop them up into small, toothsome morsels, and add them back into the same water with finely diced pre-sautéed onions and grated potato. Then I add the ingredients I would for a true South Carolina barbecue sauce: mustard (no tomato sauce!), cider vinegar, hot sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, salt, and a couple of other personal flourishes—all in the same pot over medium heat, stirring so the potatoes release their starch and begin to add body to the liquid.
After a thorough stirring, I let that simmer for about an hour, leaving me plenty of time to start a pot of plain white rice. Once all those ingredients coalesce into unified ideation of savory, spicy, sweet, smoky, tangy, textured, familiar comfort of BBQ cohesion, it gets ladled over rice and enjoyed slowly and wistfully. At least once.
This is a dish that more than rewards your patience and effort. And like the best gifts, it keeps on giving as, like a good chili, over time—if you make a huge pot of this hash, every day you keep the leftovers in the pot and put the pot back in the fridge overnight—those bold wonderful flavors only harmonize more.
And once you master your own version of this dish, once you start sharing it with others, leftovers won't be as much of a problem before long.