February 02, 2008

Hash in the Morning Light

Getting back to my love of all things breakfast, I have to put in a good word for hash. It is necessarily potato-intensive, so I don't have it terribly often, but I do enjoy it. The Cajun Chicken Hash at the now-closed VineYard Restaurant (RIP) is the inspiration for this version, which omits the hollandaise of the original, but features a home-blended Cajun spice mixture. As I am usually too unco-ordinated (and possibly too lazy) first thing in the morning to actually poach eggs properly, these have merely been steamed in little cups. I tend to only make one egg for myself, but the original dish had two, of course.

A close-up of the early stages of cooking illustrates the ingredients fairly well:

The chicken was leftover roasted chicken, skinned and trimmed and tossed with the aforementioned Cajun seasoning. The onions are still raw here, and look pretty fierce, but had mellowed considerably by the time it was served. The potatoes were leftover from some other dinner, where I had deliberately cooked a little more than necessary, just so I could have some sort of hash-y affair on the weekend. The rest - the bacon was diced and cooked up in the frying pan, a little of its rendered fat used to lubricate the whole dish, and then everything else was added and sauteed until just the right amount of tenderness or crunch, depending. A little extra Cajun seasoning was sprinkled over the whole as it cooked, before portioning it out and sliding the steamed eggs atop. Add a little hot sauce of your choice...

This is a pretty hearty breakfast, even without any sort of toast weighing in. I certainly didn't feel like moving for a while after - even with only one egg! Still, perfect for those lazy weekend days when you've got a whole lot of lying around on your schedule.

Hash is a useful way to use up the bits and ends in the fridge (as is frittata, or quesadilla, for that matter) - a sort of "kitchen velcro"- to borrow a term from Alton Brown. You can sneak a few more veggies in than your traditional bacon-and-egg breakfast, too. Highly customizable.

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