This past Saturday, I spent a good portion of the morning sitting in bed, browsing Pinterest, and watching the Food Network; I was looking for breakfast ideas, and dreading the thought of getting up and having to figure something out (despite the fact that my stomach was growling, LOUDLY). I didn’t want anything sweet (pancakes, french toast, etc), and I didn’t want an egg sandwich (my go-to weekend breakfast), and I didn’t have any tortillas on hand for breakfast tacos. I thought about the leftover honey chipotle turkey meatballs in the fridge, and how I wanted to use them up so they wouldn’t go to waste… but the idea of mixing them into scrambled eggs or piling them into an omelette seemed unappealing. Then I remembered the giant sweet potato I had sitting on the counter, and thought: what about a sweet potato hash?? I always have peppers and onions on hand, the sweet potato was big enough for two people, and I could beef the whole thing up with some chopped up leftover meatballs and a poached egg on top! And just like that, a breakfast decision had been made!
A few notes before we get started:
– The key to making a hash that isn’t going to take all day to cook is to cut everything into relatively small chunks. I’ve found that a 1/2″ dice is small enough to cook fairly quickly, but not so small that it doesn’t still feel hearty and substantial.
– Always add your items to the pan in order of how long they take to cook. This way, everything ends up nicely cooked, without half your ingredients being mushy or under-cooked.
– Don’t be scared of poaching eggs. Here is a brief tutorial to help you:
1.) Use a wide pot or pan, so your eggs have room to move.
2.) Heat your water until small bubbles form all over the bottom of the pan, and they are very gently bubbling to the surface; you want the water to be very warm, but with very little surface movement.
3.) Crack one egg into a small dish. Before you drop the egg into the water, take a spatula and gently swirl the water in a counter-clockwise direction – then immediately slide the egg into the water. This circular movement in the water will help the egg white sort of wrap itself around the egg, and prevent the egg from spreading out all over the pan.
4.) Once your first egg has had a chance to start to cook a bit (maybe 30 seconds), you can add a second egg to the pan (using the same method described above).
5.) Let the eggs cook for about 3 minutes each, until the egg white are mostly firmed up, but there is still give where the yolk is (be very, very careful when you’re working with the egg, so that you don’t broke the yolk)!
6.) Remove each egg with a slotted spoon, and slide it onto a paper towel, just for a second. Immediately move the egg to your dish, and serve!
7.) A perfectly poached egg will have a fairly firm (but not rubbery) white, and a totally liquid yolk. The yolk will coat the rest of your dish, and create a fabulous, rich sauce.
8.) It will likely take a few tries to get it right – mess with the temperature setting of your burner, the cooking time, etc. Eventually you’ll get it right!
Sweet Potato Hash (with meatballs and poached eggs)
1 large sweet potato, or two medium, cut into a 1/2″ dice
1/4 of a medium sweet onion, cut into a 1/2″ dice
1/2 of a red bed pepper, cut into a 1/2″ dice
about 1/2lb of leftover meat of any variety, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
(This recipe is hugely adaptable. If you don’t like sweet potatoes, use white potatoes. If you hate red bell pepper, use a green bell pepper. If you have leftover chicken breast/meatloaf/pork/whatever, dice that up and use it. It’s an excellent way to clean out the fridge!)
1.) Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add about 2T of olive oil to the pan (enough so that the bottom of the pan is coated). Add your sweet potatoes to the pan.
2.) Allow the potatoes to cook for 2-3 minutes before you start stirring them, so the bottoms get nice and brown and crunchy. Stir the potatoes every couple minutes, so that all sides have a chance to get brown. (Please do not be afraid to use the full 2T of oil, here – if you don’t have enough oil, the potatoes will just burn, instead of getting nice and brown and crunchy.)
3.) Once the potatoes are nicely browned, check them for doneness. If they’re still pretty hard, grab a piece of foil and a cup with about 2T of water in it; pour the water into the pan, and quickly cover the pan with the foil (you don’t need to wrap the pan with foil, just lay the foil down on top). This will gently steam the potatoes, and help them keep through. You can leave the foil in place for 2-3 minutes.
4.) Put your egg-poaching pot on the heat, so the water can start to get warm. When the potatoes have softened (but aren’t totally done), push them off to the sides of the pan, to create a clear spot in the middle. Add a touch more oil (about a teaspoon), and toss in your onions and peppers. Leave them undisturbed for a minute or so, so they start to brown, and then toss them in with the potatoes. Add spices, and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes, until the onions and peppers are softened.
5.) Drop your eggs into the water to poach. Meanwhile, clear the middle of your hash pan, add another teaspoon of oil, and add your diced meat. Allow that to brown up on one side, and then toss with the rest of the hash, cooking until the meat is warmed through.
6.) Spoon your hash into bowls, and top with a poached egg. Cut into the egg, and let the yolk spill out over your hash (Crist is cringing right now – she hates runny eggs). Mix everything up, so all the hash gets coated in the liquid gold egg yolk. Devour.
As I mentioned before, you can adapt this recipe in a million ways! You can use whatever potatoes and vegetables and meat you want; it’s a great way to use up whatever is in your fridge. I found the sweetness of the sweet potatoes to balance nicely with the chipotle glaze on the meatballs; and the whole dish was hearty, and filling, and pretty darn healthy, too! I almost can’t wait until next weekend, so I can dream up a new version of this!
Don’t be scared of runny eggs,