Weekend Potato-Hash Breakfast

When I was growing up potato hash, or “farmhouse breakfast”, was something special my mom would make for my brother. It included cooked potatoes with “ingredients” (code word for teeny-weeny-mince onions and peppers, which my dad hates), eggs in some form, and either sausage or bacon. I take after my brother and usually add ketchup on top while everyone else in our family stares at us like we are aliens.

Since my husband loves to sleep late on the weekends this is a perfect breakfast for me to make for him. It takes long enough that he can have a nice snooze, and smells good enough to get him out of bed just a few minutes before it’s ready to eat.

I’ve been experimenting with the best way to make this without a quarter inch crust of potato goo cementing itself to the bottom of the pan and I finally figured it out! The key is to cook the potatoes separately in the oven and then incorporate them at the last minute.

The best thing about this recipe is that you can substitute and swap any ingredients that you don’t like, or include any leftover veggies or things that you have laying around. This morning I had potatoes, black beans, onion, a poblano pepper, and bacon.

This morning's ingredients
This morning’s ingredients

Last time I made this I had leftover butternut squash, russet potatoes, kielbasa, onions, and apples. Once you get the basic formula down you can do whatever you want with it. I usually serve the hash with whatever style egg Rob wants (9 times out of 10 it’s scrambled), but since he went to the movies today with friends I got to have my fried egg with a runny yolk.

Basic Potato Hash Ingredients:
5 or 6 red potatoes
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 hot pepper of your choice (or 1 sweet bell pepper if you don’t like spice), chopped
4 slices of bacon cut into thin strips
Paprika, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste (feel free to change these to your individual seasoning preferences)

Preheat your oven’s broiler (500 degrees) and adjust the rack to the lowest position. Line a half sheet pan with foil and have it ready.

chop size,  spacing on sheet pan, roasty goodness
chop size, spacing on sheet pan, roasty goodness

Quarter and then chop the potatoes into nice ½ inch chunks. They don’t have to be perfect and that way you get a nice variety of crispness from the oven. Arrange them on the pan and roll them around in some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Once the oven is heated place them on the lowest rack and roast for approximately 35 minutes, give or take depending on the size you cut them. I like them to be nice and brown and poofy when they’re done. While the potatoes roast you can cook everything else and then combine when the potatoes are finished.

bacon bundleWhen I buy bacon I separate it into what I call “bacon bundles”. Each bundle has 4 slices of bacon that I’ve cut into strips and then gathered into a ball and frozen. Whenever I need bacon for a recipe I just take it out of the freezer and let it thaw for about 15 minutes which is usually the time it takes me to walk to Dunkin Donuts and back.

Place the bacon in a fry pan over medium heat and let it get very crispy. Remove from the pan onto a paper towel to drain. Add the onions to the pan with the remaining bacon fat. It’s the weekend, live a little. When adding the onions I like to do a little toss-and-jump-back maneuver because the pan is really hot and I hate getting bacon grease burns. When the onions hit the pan they will release moisture and it gives you the opportunity to use your favorite stirring utensil to scrape the brown bacon bits up for flavor. Cook the onions until they’re very soft and have crispy brown edges. If your pan is at medium heat this usually takes about 15 minutes. Remember to stir them. When they’re nice and soft and pretty colored add the seasonings you like (I like paprika and red pepper flakes – I hold off on salt and pepper because we put a bunch on the potatoes already) and the peppers (hot or sweet, your choice) and cook until the skin blisters slightly and the onions have gotten almost completely brown. At this point you can take everything out of the pan and combine with the cooked bacon.

By now the potatoes should be done or very close to it. Once they look the way you want pull them from the oven and toss with the rest of your ingredients in a big bowl, or the pan you cooked in, or on the sheet pan, or on the floor. Nope, scratch that, don’t throw it all on the floor. Just seeing if you were paying attention. Make sure you taste the final product and adjust seasonings as needed.

combined hash

Since eggs take a hot minute to cook you can do these in the style you please right around the time the potatoes are done. If you want a protein to go with your breakfast you can certainly cook whatever you want. This morning I wanted steak, so steak I had. As far as plate arrangement goes I like a pile of hash, my protein on the side, and my egg right on top. Ketchup is optional. So go have some fun, experiment with ingredients, and try not to drop too many things on the floor.


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