The flavors are complex in these hash cakes. The sweetness of sweet potatoes is made richer with bacon fat and duck, and is balanced by the smokiness of the bacon; the crunchiness of onion, sweet pepper and celery give textural contrast; and the presence of thyme, bay and cilantro contribute strong herbal notes. Simply fried eggs make a great partner to these hash cakes.We once had a dish similar to this at the now-gone SmokeJack’s restaurant in beautiful Burlington VT. This is my own version of that. —LeBec Fin
- Makes 6-7 cups; serves 4-6 people as a brunch entrée with fried eggs.
8 ounces bacon, sauteed or baked, drained and chopped, and fat reserved
Reserved bacon fat or extra virgin olive oil
11 ounces yellow onion, small diced (1/3 inch)
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 medium carrot, small diced
1 stalk celery, small diced
½ medium red pepper, small diced
1-2 tsp.dried thyme, rubbed in palms of hand to release oils
fat or oil
sweet potatoes, unpeeled,cut in ½”dice, preferably both Hannah (white ) and Jewel sweet potatoes, which are rich and less sweet than Garnet
Capone’s Duck Sausage,halfway frozen, cut in half lengthwise and then cut in 1/3” slices ; or hand shredded cooked duck
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, freshly ground
1 bunch cilantro, washed, drained, dried and minced (with or without stems)
- In a large 12” diameter skillet, heat 3-4 T.bacon fat or oil til hot. Add onion, adjust heat to medium high and saute until golden brown(adding more fat or oil if needed to keep from burning.) Add garlic , thyme and bay leaf for the last few minutes of cooking. Remove this onion mixture from pan. In the same skillet, heat another 2-3T of fat/oil til hot, saute carrots, celery and red pepper 3-5 minutes over medium high heat until seared and tender. Remove from pan.
- Meanwhile steam* (or blanch) potatoes until just tender, about 3-5 minutes. Do not cook longer or the hash will be mushy. Cool potatoes in a colander by an open window or in a cool area.
- In the original skillet, heat 3-4 T. oil/fat until hot. Over medium high heat,saute duck sausage on both sides until it loses its pink color.Leave juices/fat in pan with sausage. Add the potatoes, stir to coat well. Increase heat if needed so potatoes will sizzle. Add onion and carrot mixtures, bacon and cilantro.
- Taste and adjust flavoring. Form into 3“ cakes and saute in sizzling fat til crispy on the outside and hot in the center(when tested with a skewer.) Serve with lime wedges alongside fried eggs.
- Notes:* Steaming potatoes preserves their vitamins better, rather than losing nutritional value in blanching water. It is also a much faster and safer method than boiling. I use an easily-stored 2 tiered aluminum steamer with a domed lid- that I found in a Chinese restaurant supply store. see: http://food52.com/recipes/16931_best_way_to_boil_veggiesdont_steam_em_instead
- Notes:Diced peeled celery root would make a good substitute for some of the sweet potatoes and can be prepared in the same manner(or could be roasted). 3 lb. ( cooked weight) cannelini or Great Northern beans could also be substituted for the potatoes.
- *Note: A vegetarian version of these can easily be accomplished by eliminating the duck, bacon and bacon fat. They could then be served with plain yoghurt, or topped with melted xsharp cheddar. (Not a pancake, but this hash would also be good as a filling in tacos, enchiladas, or burritos, or as a base for fried or poached eggs.)