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Hashbrowns!!!



I love hashbrowns (one word). By hashbrowns I mean the shredded potato kind and not the diced potato kind, those I call pan fried potatoes. Get it? Not the brown hash either that was a popular form of cerebral recreation in my youth, cause that would have been wrong, not to mention illegal, so I would never have done that. Nor would I have sampled Maui-Wowie, Thai stick, BC Bud, Red Devil or any other form of said hallucinogenic farm produce. Nope, hashbrown potatoes are what I am talking about here. It's 2011 for goodness sake, not Vancouver circa 1976.

There are some notable restaurants that serve the delectable and tasty shredded hashbrown potatoes I crave. The hashbrowns I like the best are made at restaurants that I would not ordinarily go to for any meal other than breakfast with shredded hashbrowns, those breakfast restaurant style hashbrowns are what I sought to duplicate.

As kids my folks made hashbrowns grated fresh and then soaked the grated potatoes in ice-cold water, rinsing repeatedly to remove as much starch as possible, then pan frying with butter until golden brown then flipping over to brown them and serve hot. So yummy my mouth is watering at the jaw as I type this. The problem with this method is even with all the rinsing and soaking, the cooked hashbrowns could be gluey and Lord knows gluey hashbrowns are an abomination and a sin against the revered potato. I would still eat them when they were gluey, but the enjoyment threshold is right there with sex as a solitary activity and there are better ways to do this as some glorious breakfast restaurants can exhibit, hashbrowns, not sex that is.

I suffered with the gluey hashbrown syndrome for years, until, after a myriad of failed but edible experiments, I developed my family favourite and Sunday brunch signature hashbrowns. I will detail the process here since we are all friends and I know you won't tell too many people because I would like it to be kept secret. But first there is an item you need to find. It can be difficult to locate but when you do the search effort will bear years of wonderful hashbrowns to enjoy. The item is a Salad King food processor. A mechanical thingy that works like a charm and the one I proudly own is as old as I am (please hold the old guy jokes). I stole mine from my parents, though I have denied it for many years, so please don't tell them. They left the house one evening and I ran out the door with it under the cover of darkness. It's mine now and I will not give it up. Ever! Never! Ha!!!!

I have used stand graters, mandolines and electric food processors of varying origins and none compare to the indomitable Salad King (also known as King Cutter) hand crank food processor/grater. It has shredded/grated tons of potatoes, beets, carrots and other hard vegetables and performed flawlessly with nary a complaint. Originally it came with a guard over the cutting drum to protect fingers but unfortunately the guard has gone the way of the Dodo bird so I grate unprotected, dangerously unprotected. The only thing between my fingers and a steady bleed is a scream, so after losing a few pounds of flesh to the procedure that is grating with an unguarded Salad King, I have learned to pay attention. Very close attention, and have not added any personal protein to any food preparation for a very long time. If you get a chance make sure the Salad King you steal has a guard if at all possible. (You can buy them off Etsy if you so desire)

Now on to the potatoes and enough of my mind droppings...

Shredded Hashbrown Potatoes

Peel 2 large potatoes for each person you are going to amaze with these hashbrowns. I always use russets, I don't know why, but I do and they are very good. Place the peeled potatoes, uncut (that's whole in case you are confused) in a large 12 quart or larger pot or dutch oven and cover the WHOLE potatoes with cold water, enough so the potatoes end up loosely gathered, floating almost.

Place pot on the stove over high heat. Bring the pot to a full rolling boil and once boiling, boil for 2 minutes - not 3, not 1, but 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat then let stand at room temperature uncovered for 2-3 hours, until cooled to room temperature. Remove potatoes from water and chill. Note: I always do this the day before I am planning to serve hashbrowns ensuring they chill properly, so you should do so as well.

Using the chilled potatoes, grate and place in a bowl. Toss with salt and pepper. At this point I add the minced red bell pepper, green onions or chives and pressed garlic, lots of everything, kind of like an O'Brien potatoes it is. Toss the mixture well with a little canola oil and begin to make some goodness.


Using a large non-stick frying pan placed over high heat add some butter (clarified is best) and canola oil in a 50/50 ratio (the amount is up to you, but I like lots, perhaps 3 tables spoons of each).
 

Add grated potato mixture to the hot oil and reduce heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper.

DO NOT stir potatoes. Let them lay still, unmolested, until they gently brown. Check the colour by lifting and looking, and once browned to your liking flip over and brown the other side.

 Helpful hint!: Place a plate over the cooking hashbrowns then with your hand on the plate, turn the frying pan over to release the hashbrowns.


Slide half-cooked hashbrowns back into the frying pan and cook until golden brown.

At this point you have a decision to make - to stir, or not to stir.  I stir to get more golden crunchy goodness happening, but you don't have to. If you wish, simply plate the cooked hashbrown patty and serve. It's your choice!  Be daring!

Fry until they are golden brown and serve hot.

You can keep the cooked hashbrowns in the oven until the eggs are done, just ensure the oven is at 400 degrees so they don't wilt, and don't keep them waiting longer than 10 minutes. Hashbrowns hate to be kept waiting. Trust me.

Serve hot and enjoy.


The picture below is my Salad King in front of a pile of freshly grated potatoes prior to being turned into delectable and hugely satisfying hashbrowns.



The simple secret to this is the parboiling of the potatoes. By doing this you set the starch in the potato and the cooking time decreases by half, so no gluey hashbrowns for you; they taste nice and light and they cook quickly.

If you happen to be participating in a brown hash experience, remember when the munchies hit, the quick cooking and tasty hashbrowns may be better for you than a bag of Doritos or a box of Oreo cookies. Just be careful that you don't step on the miniature Unicorns or the tiny House Hippo's when you are traipsing around the kitchen cooking these in a hallucinogenic state. They're endangered creatures after all and they come out when hashbrowns and brown hash are coupled together in a kitchen.

Snowy Palms Resort

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