If I talk about corned beef hash around my husband, he imagines the canned stuff, but in my head I’m thinking about the way my Gma made it – with chunks of actual corned beef and diced vegetables. I’m clearly in the minority here – when I see Corned Beef Hash on the menu anywhere, I feel compelled to order it, hoping it will be hearty chunks of food. I even ask the servers if the hash is chunky, or if it’s like the canned paste. “Oh, it’s definitely chunky.” We must have different definitions of “chunky,” because those tiny bits of potato don’t qualify. Not that I don’t love the canned stuff – it may smell like dog food coming out of the can, and the meat may be more like paste than it is meat anymore, but it is pretty darn tasty. I always grab a scoop if it’s on the table.
Of course I had to start playing around with making my own hash. I have a good approximation of Gma’s Corned Beef Hash, but then I started experimenting with different hash recipes – changing or skipping the meat, changing up the vegetables. Sometimes I go with a Latin theme and include poblano peppers, zucchini or other summer squash, and corn, and my St. Patty’s style hash uses Russet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and onions. Often my breakfast hash is an experiment with the leftovers in the fridge. But it’s always good.
This version is one of my favorites. The sweet potato and kale play beautifully off one another, and even though it’s fairly simple, the flavor of this dish is really quite bold. This hash can be eaten plain, or topped with a fried egg or two – as the runny yolk adds another layer of deliciousness.
Sweet Potato & Kale Hash
The key to this (and any) hash is a cast iron pan – one that isn’t too crowded, and has the right amount of oil. You want the pan to be shiny – for there to be some fat between the pan and the vegetables, but not so oily that the vegetables are sitting in a pool of oil, or else your hash will leave you feeling heavy and greasy. If you can’t see the bottom of the pan through the vegetables, it’s overcrowded, and your vegetables will be limp and steamed, rather than crisping up against the cast iron.
- 2-3 tbsp. olive oil, or other fat
- 1 medium-ish orange fleshed sweet potato (approximately 350 g or 12 oz.)
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper
- 2-3 stalks of kale (I used curly kale, but you could use others)
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- optional: 1-2 fried eggs per person
- Peel the sweet potatoes, and dice both the sweet potato and bell pepper in large bite sized pieces.
- Cut the onion in long strips lengthwise- you should have strips the length of the onion, approximately 1/4″ wide.
- De-stem the kale, and chop roughly. Grab the kale in handfuls and squeeze it to soften.
- Heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil in a wide cast iron skillet. When the pan is nice and hot, add all the veggies except the kale and a good sprinkle of salt, and cook over medium-high to high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to turn golden brown and the potatoes are soft through. Add additional fat if necessary to keep the pan shiny.
- Add the kale, and continue to cook a minute or two more, stirring occasionally, until the kale wilts.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately, topped with a fried egg if desired.