November 30, 2012 by annmquintero
Hash is one of my favorite wintery comfort foods. It’s also one of my favorite ways to clean out the fridge! Although I’m sure you’ve all eaten or tossed your Thanksgiving leftovers by now, we have a lot more holiday eating ahead of us this season, and repurposing leftovers into something other than sandwiches is always a good trick to have up your sleeve. The word hash is derived from the french word hâcher (ah-shay): to chop or hack up. And that’s really all it is, heating up chopped food items in a skillet. Maybe top it with an egg or serve with salad.
When making hash it’s not a bad idea to put together a mise-en-place (Weee! More French!), pronounced meez on plahss. Mise-en-place is just the practice of having all your ingredients organized and ready to use so you’re not running to the fridge frantically and trying to get this thing chopped and that thing peeled so you can get it in the pan at the right time. I like to gather my chopped ingredients in bowls according to the point in cooking at which I intend to add them.
As always, my Amazons, I encourage you to explore the flavors you like. And always keep tasting throughout cooking to see if your food needs something. Salt? Acid? Spice? Sweet? An herb? I’ll share my list of ingredients with you, but the best thing about hash is being able to use what you have sitting around.
What you’ll need:
A large skillet with lid
Wooden spoon or other stirring implement
Mushrooms, white, sliced
Sweet potato, diced
Purple potato, diced (Purple potatoes!! I saw them at the grocer and had to try them!)
Red bell pepper, chopped
Fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper
Gorgonzola, crumbled (for garnish)
I started with a bit of olive oil on medium high heat in my biggest skillet. Onions go in first because with a little browning, they’ll impart a lot of flavor to the rest of the hash. I hit them with salt and a bit of paprika, adobo, and chile powder and let them soften. Add the ground turkey to the pan and break it up with the back of the spoon. Don’t stir too often. Allowing the the meat to sit and sizzle undisturbed in the pan will allow it to brown and browning equals flavor! Once you’ve got some browning on the turkey, add the mushrooms and rosemary. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper.
When the mushrooms have started to cook down, add your potatoes and red pepper. If you’re using already cooked potatoes, this will be much faster and you’ll have a better shot at getting a little crisp on your potatoes. But if you’re using raw potatoes like I did, this is what I recommend: mix the diced potatoes in with everything else, add a little water to the pan, cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. When you can pierce the potatoes easily with a fork, they’re done! At this point, you could put the pan in the oven, uncovered, at 350F for a while or under the broiler to try to get a bit more browned texture on top, but I was hungry.
A note about seasoning food: It’s best to add spices early on in the cooking process. Heat helps bring out the best in the flavors of spices. So, if you need to adjust the spice level later on, giving them at least a few minutes in the hot pan is a good idea. Similarly, it’s important to salt gradually throughout the cooking process. The ideal salt scenario is that your food tastes seasoned, bright and vibrant, not salty. Salt is a flavor enhancer. Salting at the end will increase the likelihood of food tasting salty instead of seasoned. Also, for those of us watching our salt intake, in home cooking, your tongue will tell you how much salt is enough. In pre-packaged food, there’s a lot of hidden sodium we can’t even taste which is what makes those foods so dangerous.
When my hash was done, I felt like it was missing something. Something pungent and tangy, a little wicked that would offset the sweet potatoes and the chile powder. Gorgonzola in my fridge to the rescue! I just topped the hash with a sprinkle of gorgonzola and it just added the little punch of flavor I wanted.
My Amazons, I always ask you to share your food adventures and questions with me, but I’m putting extra emphasis on it this week. I need you to inspire me! What would you put in your ideal hash? What surprise combinations came out of your fridge? What would you like to read about? Ask me anything!
(If this is your first time reading EATS, I encourage you to check out the Introductions post for my philosophy and list of must-have kitchen items.)