|My bushel of potatoes|
On a lark, I recently ordered a bushel of potatoes from Beach Garden Farm to split with my friends. They grow all sorts of veggies in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Rutherford County, North Carolina and the potatoes grown in North Carolina are definitely the best I have ever tasted. I speak from experience. Since I am Irish, I must feed my family potatoes weekly, at least!
The basic ingredient in hash browns is leftover baked potatoes. My dad would always cook way too many baked potatoes to accompany our Sunday dinner so he could whip up some hash browns later in the week. That is one trick that I have certainly retained now that I am the head chef. Thankfully, my kids love baked potatoes which means lots of opportunities for hash browns if I plan correctly!
Just in case you need a Baked Potato Refresher …
I wash the potatoes, pierce them with a fork a few times and throw them right on the rack in the oven and let them cook for about an hour at 350 to 375 degrees. I try to squeeze them a bit when the hour is up to see if they have any “give” to them and, if so, I take them out and they are ready to be eaten. I can pop a few potatoes in the oven as my kids are getting home from school and they can be ready for dinner whenever dinner happens to present itself. Such an easy side dish! If I have extra potatoes on hand (hmmm… this week I have a “few” extras to use!), I will throw in at least two extra potatoes to make sure that I have enough leftovers to make hash browns for breakfast or a snack later in the week.
Putting Leftover Baked Potatoes to Good Use …
Hash browns really are incredibly easy to make! All you need are leftover potatoes and you can choose to add (or not) any additional ingredients that suit your fancy. This week, I had one lonely chicken sausage so I chopped that up and let it cook with my potatoes. Yum. I also had half of a beautiful yellow bell pepper from the Banner Greenhouse Farm – a gorgeous and super tasty pepper – almost too tasty to cook with! I threw it in right at the end so that it retained it’s beautiful flavor and color.
If I have onions, I like to chop up some onions. Unfortunately, we had an onion and a garlic shortage in the house this week – that never happens here! No matter, the hash browns were still amazing. Read on and see how easy this is …
Making the Hash Browns
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 leftover baked potatoes, chopped with skin left on
|Rosemary from my garden|
Diced sausage or bacon
Chopped parsley, a handful
Chopped rosemary, a sprig, stripped
Pepper and onions, finely chopped
If you would like to be a hash brown purist, simply saute your chopped potatoes over medium to medium high heat in a frying pan for about 12 to 15 minutes until they get brown and a little crispy on the edges. Lightly season with salt and pepper and serve.
If you would like to fancy up your hash browns a bit, like I did, chop up one uncooked chicken (or any) sausage and let it cook until it starts to brown. Because I used chicken sausage, there was very little fat so I did need to add in a little bit of olive oil. Other sausages might not require any additional oil in which to fry the potatoes.
After the sausage has begun to cook, add the onions, the potatoes, the parsley, and the rosemary. Bring the heat to medium to medium high – you want the pan to be relatively hot. Occasionally stir the potatoes for about 12 to 15 minutes while they brown. After they have reached your desired level of crispiness, add in the diced pepper and stir one final time.
You could serve this as a side dish at breakfast or dinner or, if you are like me, this makes a great afternoon power snack! Enjoy!