For the longest time I thought I didn’t like breakfast hash. Greasy corned beef and squishy potatoes, what was to like? And why waste the calories on a pile of mush when I could have a fluffy omelet or a big stack of blueberry pancakes? But back when I was spending my days in the kitchen of a bed and breakfast, dozens of guests asked for corned beef hash. With that much interest, I figured there had to be something to this ugly dish. And after a few dozen tries, I figured out the trick: crispy potatoes. For me, texture was key, and in addition to making the potatoes crisp, I opted to shred the corned beef by hand instead of pulverizing it in the food processor. Nicely browned potato bits, and rich, salty corned beef topped with perfect fried eggs made for a fantastic (and anything-but-mushy) breakfast.
Of course, crispy potatoes meant fried potatoes, and all of that corned beef brought with it loads of salt and fat. So while I occasionally served corned beef hash and eggs, I rarely ate it. In fact, I haven’t had hash and eggs in years. But last week I went out to brunch with my cousin Laurie and saw it on the menu. Laurie and I shared a decadent crab cake, and a lovely order of potato pancakes with apples, but all week long I’ve been dreaming about that plate of hash and eggs.
My usual hash included deep-fried potato bits and a big hunk of corned beef. Starting the day with that much fat was not exactly appealing when I set out to make brunch this morning. And I didn’t have a big old corned beef just hanging out in the fridge. So I decided to experiment. And I love when an experiment works out! Instead of frying the potatoes, I tossed them in a bit of oil and roasted them until brown and crisp. And in place of the corned beef, I went for some red bell peppers and a link of Italian chicken sausage. Topped off with an egg fried in just a bit of cooking spray, and it was not just lighter, but actually more flavorful than the typical corned beef version. Yum!
Italian Chicken Sausage Hash and Eggs
2 cups diced potatoes (skin on is fine)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 link (2-3 ounces) Italian chicken sausage, uncooked
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the potatoes with the oil and spread on a rimmed baking sheet greased prepared with cooking spray. Roast until browned, about 20 minutes, turning once. Meanwhile, saute the onion and pepper in cooking spray. Add salt and herbs and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Squeeze the sausage from the casing into the pan, and break up with a spoon. Cook until the sausage is browned.
Coat a nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Crack two eggs into the pan and fry to desired doneness. Remove the potatoes from the oven and sprinkle with salt. Toss the potatoes with the sausage mixture. Mound the hash on two plates and top each with a fried egg.