This is cold-weather breakfast or brunch food at its most savory. My hash was created one frantic morning when I had two extra guests coming for breakfast and only three russet potatoes in my basket, it was a steaming, crispy-edged success and I keep wanting to re-make this. I feel the stars here are the sweet potatoes because they encourage caramelization with their natural sugars and seem to just melt with the sputtering heat of the skillet. Bacon makes this just go over the top in deliciousness. The flavor comes from that wonderful fat and keeps us feeling satiated when eating carbs for breakfast. We can eat this with such satisfaction knowing the sweet potato offers a massive amount of vitamin A along with beta-carotene, potassium, folate, and calcium. If you include the skin of an organic sweet potato you can enjoy even more nutritional benefits. (I didn’t, this time…my sweet potatoes looked a little sad.)
2-8 slices of bacon
bacon grease, optional
3 sweet potatoes, medium-large
3 regular potatoes, medium-large
1/2 green pepper
* Using a huge skillet makes this process so much easier.
1. Slice the bacon into 1 1/2-2" pieces, fry over medium heat in a large spoonful of bacon grease until crispy. (This makes frying easier and with "modern" bacon, which is more lean, allows for enough fat to fry the potatoes in. You can also use butter, sunflower oil, or even olive oil, in a pinch.) Drain bacon on paper-towel or rag-lined plate. Leave enough grease to gloss over the whole base of the skillet, drain excess if desired.
2. Meanwhile, wash all the potatoes well, then grate, and peel, if needed. (The food processor makes very short work of this, but sometimes I’m so lazy I don’t want to get it out and spend twice as long grating it with the hand grater.) Put grated potatoes into a colander and rinse all the greyish matter and starch off. (The strands will look bright and fresh!) With a rag or paper towel press down onto the potatoes, pressing as much of the water out as possible. (Have your husband show off his biceps-if he’s around-with this task.)
3. With the heat under the skillet on medium-high, pour all the potato strands into the sizzling grease, toss well to slick with the grease. Turn the heat down a bit and allow to just sit and cook for about 4-6 minutes, checking by peeking under and edge for browning. (You don’t really want to walk away because this can blacken in a hurry, not that the burnt sugar taste will totally ruin your hash, just that it’s not exactly what we are going for.)
4. As your potatoes fry, with one eye on the stove, dice up the onion and green pepper. When you start to see some browning occurring, flip the potatoes, toss in the pepper and onion and some salt and pepper to taste. You are looking for loud and lively flavor!
5. Continue frying, turning every few minutes until you have golden-sided “chunks” of hash. The veggies should all be tender and you should have crispy bits interspersed with the softer mash. It might not look very pretty but the taste is explosive…especially when you toss the reserved bacon pieces over the top at the glorious end!