HASH

2013-03-29T00:00:00Z 2013-03-29T15:12:09Z HASHby Jane Dunne THE CULINARIAN nwitimes.com
March 29, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A couple of days ago I made hash with some corned beef left over from St. Patrick's Day. My hash is good, but doesn't touch my brother's who makes the best I've ever tasted, hands down. I also recall the red flannel hash from my New England childhood - not a favorite - (the hash, not the childhood.)

Here are a couple of hash recipes I love. The sweet potato and chipotle hash has a smoky sweetness that melds beautifully

with the crisp bacon bits and is a great base for a poached or fried egg. It's adapted from a recipe by Adam Roberts, the Gourmet. The more elegant chicken hash needs quite a bit of chopping but the end product is totally worth it.

SWEET POTATO AND CHIPOTLE HASH (2 servings)

This hash should be made with sweet potatoes (not yams which have too much moisture.) Most produce departments today stock both, so make sure you get the right kind. Canned chiles in adobo are on supermarket shelves in the Mexican food section. Leftover chiles are good mixed with ground beef for tacos.

6 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced into matchsticks (lardons)

1 large yellow onion, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced

2 chiles in adobo sauce, diced

1 large sweet potato, unpeeled, shredded on the large holes of a

box grater

Salt, to taste

In a large cast iron or nonstick frying pan, render the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon from the pan to paper towels, Set aside.

Lower heat to medium and sauté the onions in the bacon fat until softened and dark golden brown, about 20 minutes. Add a bit of salt to taste, along with the chiles and the grated sweet potato. Stir until well-combined, add in the bacon and taste for seasoning. Continue to cook until potatoes are soft and crisping. Pat the hash down with a spatula and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until crusty on the bottom. Turn over, pat down again and cook bottom side until crusty, about 3 minutes. (If not crisp enough for your taste, run hash under the broiler for a minute or two.)

Turn hash out onto two warm plates. Top each with a poached or friend egg.

CHICKEN HASH AT THE PLAZA 6 servings)

Supposedly the chicken hash Truman Capote served at his Black and White Ball at New York's Plaza Hotel back in the 70's. The recipe is also inspired by a hash from Ina Garten. Truman's had a splash of cream and used a little chopped fresh tarragon; Ina's uses whole basil leaves. Mine is an adaptation of both. The prep work can be done a day before, if preferred, with diced veggies (except potatoes) kept chilled in plastic bags. Same for the cooked chicken breasts.

2 whole (split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on

Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and diced

2 medium-small red onions, chopped

2 large red bell peppers, seeded and diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh basil

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

1 tablespoon tomato paste

4 minced green onions, white and green parts

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Sour cream and shredded Cheddar for topping

Heat the oven to 350 degrees

Place the chicken breasts on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle very generously with salt and pepper. Bake the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until the skin is lightly browned and the chicken cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle; then remove the meat from the bones, discarding the bones and skin. Cut chicken into large dice and set aside.

In a large frying pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the potatoes and onions, salt and pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes, until evenly browned and cooked through. In a separate frying pan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

Add the peppers, garlic, basil, thyme, paprika, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté over medium heat 5 minutes, or until the edges of the peppers are seared. Add the chicken and the pepper mixture to the potatoes and heat through. Sprinkle with the green onions and parsley, toss well and serve with a green salad on the side and your favorite glass of wine. Pass bowls of sour cream and Cheddar at the table.

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