Alaskans love their potatoes, which we grow locally and plentifully. During my days as the Sunday brunch chef at the bistro, potato hash was one of the most popular items. I’d get to the restaurant at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m., and the first thing I’d do is heave bins of chopped potatoes into giant stockpots to parboil. When they were ready, I’d use every ounce of might I had in my small frame to lift the heavy pots full of boiling water and potatoes over to the sink to drain and cool before I’d lay the potatoes out on sheet pans, where I’d season them just so. Later, they’d be fried up to order with peppers and onions until crisp. Although the amazing team of line cooks prepped pound after pound of potatoes for brunch each week, we could hardly ever make enough of it. We often ran out before the end of service, and I could be heard shouting, “Eighty-six hash!” from behind the line. It was just that popular.
Making hash at home is much less labor intensive, but just as delicious. I like to use at least 2 different potato varieties for flavor, color, and texture. My favorites for hash are russets, with the skin still on, and sweet potatoes, peeled. I like to par-bake my potatoes briefly in the oven or microwave. Then I use a hot, well-oiled cast-iron skillet to brown my potatoes until crisp.
One of the most important things to remember when making hash is to always season your potatoes generously. I love lots of salt, cracked black pepper, and Old Bay seasoning. And I like to add my protein, like slices of spicy reindeer sausage, directly to my hash, which gives the potatoes an added layer of flavor. Feel free to use any kind of breakfast protein you prefer, such as pork sausage, bacon, diced ham, or even chorizo. Top your hash with a couple of eggs any style, and you have a substantial, well-rounded meal. Ketchup or hot sauce highly encouraged on the side.
- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- 3 russet potatoes, unpeeled
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 13 ounces smoked reindeer sausage, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 red onion, cut into 1" pieces
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- Salt and cracked black pepper
- Green onions, sliced
- Hot sauce or ketchup
- Pierce the potatoes and sweet potato with a fork and microwave on high power for 5 minutes, or until par baked. You want them to be just tender, but not completely cooked through and soft. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, chop them into hearty bite size chunks. Peel the sweet potato and chop it into chunks the same size as the russets. Set the potatoes and sweet potato aside.
- In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the sausage until browned on both sides. Transfer the sausage to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper and onion to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and begin to brown. Transfer the vegetables to the plate with the sausage and set aside.
- Add more oil to the pan if needed. Add the potatoes and sweet potato and season them generously with the Old Bay and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook, without stirring, until they develop a crisp brown crust on the bottom. Stir and continue to cook until the potatoes are crisp on at least 2 sides.
- Return the sausage, bell pepper, and onion to the pan and stir to combine with the potatoes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper if needed. Sprinkle with green onions and serve promptly, with hot sauce and/or ketchup on the side.