When we lived in Connecticut, we had a solid rotation of breakfast spots. Each had a strength or two — pancakes, homemade bread, thick bacon, corned beef hash, homefries. After moving to New Jersey, we had to find replacements for all, and oddly, the land of diners still leaves a lot to be desired at times.
I can’t tell you which kitchen it was born in (I think NJ), but I do know it came a time we were trying to cut down on white starches and wanted the really good homefries at Stir the Pot. Theirs were salty, slightly smokey fluffy squares of potatoes, and most importantly, cooked without bell peppers. I wasn’t aiming to match the flavor, but the texture and make them a little healthier.
Deb of the Smitten Kitchen has a great red potato, corn and bacon hash recipe that was side inspiration here. I figured if she could pair a potato with another veggie, so could I. That’s where the Brussel sprouts came in, which at the time were a new-to-my-diet-and-palate vegetable. Now they are a staple, as you might notice following along with #MoreMealsIn on Instagram.
This hash is more of a cooking method than a true recipe. It also changes depending on how you cut the veggies. Over the years and variations, I’ve become partial to cubing both. However, Trader Joe’s shredded Brussel sprouts and a sweet potato sent through shredding disc on a food processor greatly cut down on prep time and still tastes great. If we have bacon in the fridge and haven’t been too indulgent lately, I’ll start with half-inch lardons. We typically eat this for breakfast under eggs with runny yolks, but leftovers have been alongside packed lunches and dinners for one.
Brussel Sprout and Sweet Potato Hash
What you need:
- 4 pieces of bacon, cut into half-inch lardons [optional]
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 10oz bag of Brussel sprouts, large sprouts quartered, small sprouts halved
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- eggs sunny side up for serving [optional]
- Chop or shred the veggies so that sweet potato and Brussel sprouts are about the same size, starting with the Brussel sprouts.
- Big sprouts can be quartered, small ones halved, then cut the sweet potato into cubes of similar size as the chopped Brussel sprouts (probably half-inch cubes).
- Alternatively, thinly slice the Brussel sprouts with a knife or food processor and grate the sweet potato.
- If using bacon, cut into lardons and place in a cold cast iron skillet or heavy bottom pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until just starting to get brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
- To the bacon grease or 2 tablespoons of olive oil if not using bacon, add the sweet potato and Brussel sprouts. Arrange in a thick layer along the bottom of the pan. Let cook 5 minutes, then stir and return to a thick layer to continue cooking another 5 minutes.
- Stir again and add garlic, a tablespoon of salt and pepper to taste. If the pan is getting dry, add a tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the garlic from burning. Cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally for even browning. Crispy bits should be forming on the potatoes.
- Hash is down when a fork easily pierces a sweet potato. When that happens, check for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper. Then add the bacon and let rewarm another 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, if serving for breakfast, make eggs to order. Hash can sit over low heat while eggs cook if necessary, just stir a few times to prevent burning.