Hash with potatoes, onions, and chard

 

This original recipe comes to us from our friend Mia Cabana, Children's Librarian at the Wheeler Memorial Library, which is located right around the corner from Quabbin Harvest! 

 

Breakfast all day/all year

Hash with potatoes, onions, and chard

By Mia Cabana

 

I made this recipe in the morning, and in the summer. The ingredients were at peak awesomeness. But they’re easy to come by all year, and delicious at any time of day. The only thing that may be a little tricky is having a frying pan with a lid-- but I bet if you needed you could just put a plate or baking sheet over the top and the effect would be the same. The best part is that you don’t need a lot of any of the ingredients. It’s a great way to use up the half of an onion you have sitting around. Or in my case, the last few salvageable leaves of chard from the bunch that was mostly past its prime.

 

The measurements don’t need to be precise. I found that what was most important was cutting the ingredients into small dice (smaller than what I usually have patience for, so it’s lucky you don’t need much of any ingredient).

 

Ingredients

3-4 very small or fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch diced pieces (should be about 1 cup; you can get the same yield from one medium-large potato)

3-4 leaves chard (could also use kale or spinach)

½ yellow onion, chopped small (about ? cup)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 generous tablespoon butter

cooking sherry, hard cider, or fruity beer (optional)

Crumbled feta

4 eggs

 

Warm olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and add onions, stirring to coat with oil, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-minutes on medium heat, uncovered. Add chopped potato and stir in with onions (I like to use a silicone spatula) spreading evenly across the surface of the pan so no one area is too crowded. Cover with pan lid and cook for 12-16 minutes, stirring at 4 minute intervals. I think the secret of this recipe is not disturbing the potatoes too much so they have a chance to get a little crispy on whatever side is touching the pan, then flipping them around so other sides get the heat contact. The other secret is keeping an eye on the moisture level in the pan. Cooking with the lid on helps to steam the potatoes so that they cook a little more evenly, but you don’t want it to get too soggy. I find that lifting the lid to stir 2-3 times over 15 minutes releases enough excess moisture.

 

While the potatoes and onions are cooking, remove the bottom part of the chard stems (up to right where the leaf starts). I often chop these up and add them to the potatoes and onions after the first stir, but usually only if I have rainbow or ruby chard on hand, and mostly because I think it looks nice. You can slice the leaves in uniform chunks by stacking them, rolling them into a tube, and then slicing the tube.

 

When the onions are starting to brown a little and the potato is becoming more tender (after about 15 minutes) I like to throw in a splash of cooking sherry. Or sometimes, depending on the time of day, a splash from a beer or cider that is already open. You only need a few tablespoons, 2-3. So it’s not worth opening a whole bottle and the recipe is fine without it. But if you were looking for an excuse to drink a beer while you cook… you’re welcome. You could also use a few tablespoons of vegetable broth if you have some handy. The main idea is to add a little liquid that will help any browned bits come unstuck from the bottom of the pan and impart some extra flavor.

 

If you have added a liquid, allow it to cook for a few seconds to reduce and lift the browned bits from the pan. Then add your chopped chard leaves, cover, and cook covered for an additional 3-4 minutes. You can play around with the heat-- lower is better than burning at this stage because you want the chard to steam, not adhere to the pan. You can poke it all a few times with your spatula to make sure it is mixing around evenly.

 

When chard has wilted but not lost all its bright green color, and the liquid has been absorbed, add the butter and allow it to coat the bottom of the pan as much as possible. I usually do this by moving the potato mixture into little barriers and making some blank space for the butter to melt in between because the penultimate step is to crack 4 eggs directly onto the mixture. Cover the pan once more and allow the eggs to cook most of the way through. Sprinkle your feta, and cover once more to allow eggs to finish cooking. If you are not a fan of the more sunny side of sunny-side-up eggs you can also pop the pan under a broiler at this stage for a few minutes-- just make sure you are using an oven-safe frying pan!

 

Serve by scooping 2 eggs and their surrounding mixture onto a plate. Toast or a muffin makes a good accompaniment. The beauty of this recipe is that you can also increase the recipe to include more people just by adding a little more of each ingredient and 2 more eggs per person. Somewhere between hash and homefries, adaptable to a crowd or a solo meal for one, dirtying a minimal amount of cooking dishes, it’s a winner all year long.

 

 

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