My love for lean, salty, country ham is true and unyielding. Slap a piece in between either side of a hot-from-the-oven buttermilk biscuit, and that love is something else entirely. This hash plays on salty and sweet, crunchy and chewy, and it's packed with veggies. If you can't find country ham in your grocery store, a pound of chopped bacon would probably work nicely here. —Mary Catherine Tee
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Mary Catherine Tee is a Mainer, a blogger, and no stranger to our contest circuit.
WHAT: A salty-sweet-earthy-eggy one-pan go-to brunch main—with a full cup of coffee cooked right into it.
HOW: Brown country ham in a skillet, then cook a mix of vegetables in the ham fat, maple syrup, and coffee. Finish it up with a couple of eggs cooked right on top.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This hash has many dimensions (crispy, soft, salty, sweet)—and the coffee and maple tie the whole thing together. Since it all comes together in one big pan, you have to do fewer dishes post-brunch on Saturday morning. If you can't find country ham, substituting bacon works perfectly. —The Editors
country ham, cut into bite-sized pieces
leek, chopped (white part only)
medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ham to the skillet, stirring occasionally, until browned on both sides. Remove and place in a bowl.
Do not skim ham fat because this is necessary for flavor. Add butter to the skillet.
Add chopped leek and stir until covered in butter. Throw in the cubed sweet potatoes, stir to coat with butter, and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of the black coffee and let simmer for 7 more minutes, or until potatoes are almost done. You'll want there to be a little crunch left in the potatoes because there's a little more cooking time yet to come.
While the potatoes are cooking, mix remaining coffee and maple syrup in a bowl. Set aside.
Add kale and minced garlic to the skillet. Cook until kale has just wilted, about 4 minutes. Add ham to skillet.
Pour coffee and maple mixture over everything, stirring to coat.
Make 4 to 6 wells in the hash and drop an egg in each. Cover with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
Once eggs are cooked, add freshly ground black pepper to taste.
I’m an old soul. My favorite Saturday morning activity is watching birds on the feeder while drinking strong, black coffee out of my favorite hand-thrown mug. My favorite place to kill time is in antique stores. The less organized the better. I like full-bodied red wines and bitter IPAs. I live for feeling the warmth of sunshine and hearing the stillness of freshly fallen snow. I can thank my stint in Alaska for that. I have salt water in my veins, having grown up in Eastern NC, and (shhh…don’t tell any of my Mainer friends this about me) I prefer blue crab over lobster.