A hash convert

Two Potato Hash with Bacon, Goat Cheese, and an over-easy egg

Hash, as a breakfast category, has never been entirely appealing to me. It seems somehow too pedestrian, for the work it entails. Too quotidien, maybe. If I’m going to haul out the cast iron pan, I want something that, frankly, looks a little sexier. I’ve had short affairs with corned beef hash, and red flannel hash, but in general, I’m just not a hash-lover. I wouldn’t have said that before, anyway.

Last weekend, we went to Joe and Hannah’s house for brunch. Someone mentioned hash, in an off-hand, uncelebratory way. “There’s hash, too,” someone said. Like, “Oh, yeah. The milk’s in the fridge.” I gave a little internal shrug. Hash happens, I thought.

I was, quite simply, unprepared to like it so much. When we sat down, the table groaned under a giant pan of the stuff – sweet and russet potatoes, chopped and browned until crisp outside and soft in the center, intertwined with shards of bacon and caramelized onion, cushioned by little throw pillows of goat cheese. I had one helping, then a second. I stared into the pot, wondering how I’d lived this long without making hash myself.

Our kids played. We drank more coffee. A few hours later, I picked up the serving spoon, and scooped the rest of the hash straight into my mouth, afraid that if I didn’t work fast enough, someone might want to share.

Saturday morning, a week later, I sizzled up some bacon, and browned the taters in the leftover fat, along with onions, garlic and thyme. I snuggled everything into bowls with goat cheese. Then, on a whim, we fried eggs, and draped them over the top (sunny side-up for Jim, over-easy for me, so I could share with Graham more neatly). There was nothing fancy, or especially beautiful about it, but the flavors – those sweet soft potatoes, with earthy thyme, salty bacon, tangy goat cheese, and that unctuous egg – oh goodness, those flavors.

And that’s that. I’m a hash convert. I sort of feel like I need to write an apology to all the hashes I’ve ignored on menus over the years, but I have a feeling future ordering trends will prove my buy-in.

Two Potato Hash with Bacon, Goat Cheese, and a fried egg 2

Joe’s Two-Potato Hash with Goat Cheese and Bacon (PDF)
Brown sweet and russet potatoes, onions, garlic, and thyme, stir in cooked bacon and goat cheese, and what do you get? Topped with a fried egg, quite possibly the world’s best breakfast.

TIME: 45 minutes
MAKES: 4 servings

4 thick slices bacon (I used uncured applewood-smoked), chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional, may be needed if your bacon isn’t that greasy)
1 Russet potato (about 3/4 pound), chopped into 1/2” pieces
1 sweet potato (about 3/4 pound), chopped into 1/2” pieces
4 eggs, cooked to your liking
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Heat a large, heavy skillet (such as cast iron) over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Add the onion and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, stir to combine, then scoot the onion mixture to the perimeter of the pan. (Here, if the pan seems dry, swirl the olive oil onto the center of the pan.) Add the potatoes to the center, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, undisturbed, until the potatoes have browned on the bottom. Stir the mixture together, cover, and cook another 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are browned and cooked through.

Return the bacon to the pan and cover for a minute or so, to heat the bacon through again. (Here’s a good time to cook the eggs.) Scoop the hash onto plates, sprinkle with goat cheese, and serve hot, topped with eggs.

12 Comments

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12 responses to “A hash convert

  1. sounds yummy, i want to try this recipe!

  2. Cast iron frying pan = sexy. Interesting connection there.

    I’m pretty sure I stumbled onto this blog via The Greasy Skillet, so I should return the favor. Check out his sausage/potato pop-over. Sort of hash-like, but what I like about it is that you can clean up your pans while it’s baking.

    http://greasyskillet.blogspot.com/2009/01/potato-and-sausage-breakfast-popover.html

    Cheers!

  3. Steve

    This is great stuff! I had Amy’s version over the weekend and it was fantastic. (no, not time travel, but I do admit to insider trading….)

  4. Lulu

    This re-defines comfort food. I made it from the post on facebook. Next time I will add the carmelized onions. I even ate the bacon! After reading “Killer Food” about the restaurant “Animal” in Los Angeles, what’s a little bacon?????

  5. So glad you finally saw the light! A fried egg on top of crisp hash is one of the finer things of life. Love the addition of goat cheese.

  6. Yum! I had never thought to make a hash with sweet potatoes…

    I am not a morning person and don’t really eat breakfast, but we do eat “Breakfast for Dinner” about once a week in this house and I’m putting this recipe in next week’s meal plan.

  7. Indeed! We make up a hefty pan each year after St. Paddy’s day, when it’s easy, what with all the leftovers. But now that you mention it, twice a year might be nice. Bacon seems like a fine way to get those meaty bits quick, that launch the whole thing.

  8. By the way … if you are now a hash convert, what were you before? A hashophobe?

  9. slowhomegrown

    ANYTIME there is homemade hash available, you should dive in. I had a delicious, creamy concoction in a greasy spoon about six months ago that was (a heart attack on a plate) to die for. Also, I’m pretty sure it’s against the law to not make hash after making corned beef and cabbage.

    I also find my heavy, oven safe pans serve as a fine substitute for making hash. I haven’t had the patience yet to deal with buying new cast iron.

    I have never had hash with sweet potatoes before, though, and I am excited to give this a go the next time I have left over sweet around.🙂

  10. This is my breakfast/brunch nearly every Saturday. It’s one of my favorite things ever. The only difference is that I’ve never tried it with sweet potatoes, and I’ve used different cheeses, but never goat cheese. I will have to try both next weekend :o)
    The egg on top is what makes it for me. Welcome to the wonderful world of hash!

  11. So happy to have discovered your blog! This sounds fantastic. I’m already a hash fan, but I’ve never seen or heard of sweet potatoes and goat cheese in it. I will need to make this very soon. Thanks!

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