Thursday, December 23, 2010

Breakfast Hash

December is often a month full of baking sweet things like cookies, sticky buns, coffee cakes, quick breads, et al. Baking is fun but I was tired of being splattered with flour and up to my elbows in dough. One morning the kitchen counter still held half a pan of Awesome Sticky Buns, but that just didn't tempt me. No, I'd grown tired of all things sweet. Sigh, I really do prefer savory bites. 

Unlike RL, who recently enjoyed this healthy breakfast choice of a pecan sticky bun and huckleberry ice cream...

...I wanted something tangy, a breakfast with a little crunch and some chili heat. Breakfast hash was the answer to that craving. A colorful, delicious dish, hash is also an inspired way to deal with all sorts of leftover meats and vegetables. Cooked pot roast, roast beef, ham, brisket, sausages, pork chops, lamb and even smoked or barbecued salmon all work well. What? no cooked meat in the fridge? then fresh bacon will do.

An adaptable dish, hash works equally well for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even as a midnight snack. It embraces a wide range of flavorings, from TexMex chili heat to Indian curry or a lemon zest and dill pairing with salmon and more. It has been a popular Company Brunch entree, topping a crispy tortilla with a side salad of mixed greens, avocado and orange slices, and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. Now that's a fiesta of flavors, colors, and textures!

Can you tell? I really like crispy, savory hash. It cooks up in a flash if you already have some cooked meat, potatoes and roasted vegetables hanging out as leftovers in your refrigerator. If not, the hash still comes together quickly. Your biggest decision will be to select seasonings to flavor your combination of meats, taters, onions and vegetables. 

The possibilities are endless, but some of our favorite hash ingredients include
  • sausage or pork, taters, onion, poblano chili, red pepper with cumin, fresh cilantro and green Tabasco sauce
  • pot roast, taters, onions, kale, sun-dried tomatoes with oregano and rosemary (or maybe some pesto)
  • salmon, taters, onion, bacon with dill and cream cheese chunks
  • lamb, taters, onion, Brussels sprouts with rosemary and garlic 
If you really want to pop this dish, drizzle some flavored Hollandaise sauce over the top. Experiment with cayenne Hollandaise for Tex Mex, dill and fennel Hollandaise with salmon, etc. Be as creative as you like, but serve mine unadorned. Simple egg-topped hash is what I crave.

Breakfast Hash
Serves 2

1/2 pound red, Yukon Gold or even Russet potatoes, scrubbed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cooking oil (omit if using bacon)
4-6 strips of thick-sliced bacon (or 1/4 - 1/2 pound of another meat)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped poblanos or sweet peppers (any color)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon thyme (or other seasonings)
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons each chopped fresh parsley and green onions

2 eggs

Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch dice; add them to a pan of boiling, salted water and boil for several minutes to partially cook. Drain in a sieve, rinse under cold water, and pat them dry (dry is important so they crisp, not steam). Set aside.

Cut the peppers into 1/4-inch dice. Dice the bacon into 1/2-inch chunks.

Melt the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron is good); cook the bacon until it begins to render it’s fat (but not till it’s crispy!). Add the potatoes, onion, peppers and seasonings. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring and turning occasionally, until the potatoes are golden with crispy browned edges.

Smooth out the hash into a flat-topped mass. Use a large serving spoon to press two depressions into the top of the hash. Break an egg into each depression. Cover the skillet and cook until the eggs are set to your liking (or poach or fry eggs in a separate pan and serve on top of the hash).

Use a wide spatula to carefully plate on warmed dishes; top with a scattering of parsley and green onion bits. Accompany with your favorite hot sauce, ketchup, salsa, grated cheese or... whatever. 

Enjoy, any meal of the day.


  1. Absolutely with you on needing a break from the onsalught of sweets at this time of year! I've never made hash of any description before, so this looks insanely good!

  2. @Hannah: The hash WAS good - good enough to make two mornings in a row.


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