Hash Browns

Hash Browns
Hash Browns Header

There are actually quite a few variations of Hash Browns. This post focuses on the ones I was used to seeing while growing up and have only seen this version being made in the Maritimes. For this reason, I call these Old Fashioned Hash Browns or Maritime Hash Browns. Either the soft kind with crispy bits of fond or the crispy version. I believe this dish comes from Acadian cooking, but I’m not entirely sure.

The word “hash” is derived from the French word “hacher” which means to hack or chop. This means hashed browned potatoes, literally translates to “chopped and fried potatoes”.

Baked Potato Hash Browns

I grew up seeing everyone peel and dice the potatoes before boiling them and refrigerating them overnight.

This version however, bakes the potatoes. I find this is far better than boiling them. Not only for the ease it takes to bake a potato verse peeling dicing and boiling, straining, and then refrigerating. But I believe you get a better flavor out of the potatoes as well.

Baked Potato

Baked Potato

Pierce the ends of the Potatoes a few times at each end. Place into a preheated oven at 400 F on a baking sheet in the middle rack position for about 50 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Once cooled, place on a plate or in Tupperware and refrigerate overnight.

Resistant Starch in Potatoes

One of the interesting things about Old Fashioned Hash Browns is that they are craved by quite a few people. It is definitely a classic that has been around for quite some time. I believe it is the Resistance Starch that people who crave this are actually in search of.

Resistant Starch has many claimed health benefits. Whether you subscribe to the idea or not, there is no denying that these are a Favorite for one reason or the other and has been around for a very long time.

It’s somehow not the same if you were to boil the potatoes and then immediately pan fry or just pan fry directly. For some reason, they taste better when cooked and refrigerated overnight and then cooked again in some fat. Could Resistant Starch be the reason?

Resistant Starch has been shown and demonstrated to have powerful health benefits. It is created by heating certain foods, allowing it to cool, and heating them up again.

Preparing the Baked Potatoes

Chop off both end where the Potato was pierced and peel the skin off. Dice the Potatoes into however big or small you want and weigh out about 1 lbs. worth for this recipe.

How Much Fat to Fry Hash Browns

In general, about 1/4 Cup of Fat for 1 lbs. of Potatoes for Crispy Hash Browns with minimal tossing. Less if you want to create a fond that will crisp up and toss frequently in the Soft Hash Browns.

The amount of Fat added when cooking the Potatoes directly affects the texture as Potatoes can absorb quite a bit of Fat as well as how you handle the Potatoes. If adding in Fat in amounts where the Potatoes can absorb all of it, and you toss frequently you get crispy fond bits, and if adding in more than what the Potatoes can absorb with minimal tossing you get Crispy Hash Browns.

Sometimes I like them soft and heated through, and other times crisp. It really depends on what you’re in the mood for.

How to make Crispy Hash Browns

This section walks through the Crispy version which takes about 20 minutes. Make sure you use a large enough skillet or pan where all the Potatoes are in contact with the Pan.

First Fry 5 minutes

Heat the Fat Hot

Heat the Fat up in a Pan over medium heat and allow it to get hot. Then add in the diced baked potatoes and leave them there for 5 minutes.

Second Fry 5 Minutes

Minimal Tossing

Toss the Hash Browns and leave for another 5 minutes.

Hash Browns at 10 minute

Crisping up

At 10 minutes, the Hash Browns will have started to crisp up.

Crisping Hash Browns

More frequent tossing

Continue to cook and toss every few minutes until crisp to your liking. Total cook time of about 20 minutes.

20 Minute Hash Browns, grease drained and Salt & Pepper

Strain excess Fat and Season

At the 20-minute mark or a few minutes beforehand, strain out excess Fat and Season with Salt & Pepper or other seasonings. Toss well and cook briefly before serving.

Hash Browns with

There are all kinds of Add-ins as well as Seasonings that can go into the Hash Brown. One of my Favorites is Onions and/or Corned Beef. Other ideas are below.

Quick Hash Browns

What makes this version so quick is that the hash browns come from already frozen french fries. French Fries when packaged have already been prepared and cooked at least once before being packaged, so we are still getting the resistant starch from a twice-cooked potato product.

Chop the French Fries into small squares. Into a skillet over medium heat with some fat and fry until your desired level of browning. That’s it, Quick and Easy.

Quick Hash Browns
Quick Hash Browns

Hash Brown Ideas

Quick Hash Browns with Diced Hotdogs

Quick Hash Browns with Hot dogs

Fries that are chopped into hash browns and fried with some hot dogs.

Corned Beef Hash Browns w Onions

Hash Browns with Corned Beef

Hash browns fried with corned beef and onions.

Meat & Potatoes

Old Fashioned Hash Browns work wonderfully with Seared Meats. Whether you are searing up some Pork Chops or Steaks. The leftover rendered fat from searing is used to cook the Potatoes as soon as you are done searing. Optionally, with a bit more fat added if needed.

This allows the Potatoes to pick up on the fond and juices introduced by the meat into the Potatoes. The fat is also primed, hot, and ready to go. Simply drop the Potatoes in and cook while the meat is resting.

This method of Meat & Potatoes produces a meal in about 20 minutes. 10 minutes or so to sear the meat and about 10 minutes or so to fry the Potatoes up.

Meat and Potatoes
Meat and Potatoes
Hash Brown Pin

Hash Browns

Baked Potato Hash Browns. Peeled and Diced and Pan Fried. Seasoned with Salt & Pepper. Or the Quick method using Diced French Fries.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 20 minutes
Refrigerated1 day
Servings: 2 portions

Equipment

  • 1 Large Skillet
  • 1 Digital Scale
  • 1 Bowl

Ingredients

  • 4 Med Potatoes
  • 1/4 C Rendered Fat - Bacon Fat, Lard, Rendered Fat or Neutral Oil
  • To Taste Salt & Pepper Blend

Salt & Pepper Blend

  • 1 Tbl Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper

Instructions

  • Pierce both ends of the Potatoes with a fork a few times. Lay on a baking sheet and place into a preheat oven at 400 F in the middle rack position for 50 minutes.
    Flip the Potatoes over halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, refrigerate the potatoes overnight.
  • When ready to cook, chop the ends off where they were pierced with a fork and Peel the Potatoes.
    Dice to desired size. Heat a Skillet over medium heat with your choice of Fat such as Bacon Grease, Lard, Rendered Fat or Neutral Oil.
  • Once the Fat is hot, add in the Potatoes and leave them for about 5 minutes. Toss and leave again for another 5 minutes. Toss again every few minutes until crisp to your liking, total cook time of about 20 minutes.
  • If there is any excess Fat left, strain it out and Season the Hash Browns. Toss and cook a few minutes more before serving.

Notes

If adding in Onions. Add them towards the end or anywhere in between and continue to cook. Some people like them just translucent and others browned.
If adding in Seasonings. Add them towards the end and briefly cook. Tossing to ensure the Potatoes get coated evenly with the seasoning before serving.
For Quick Hash browns, just dice up some French Fries. Take the Fries out of the freezer and allow to thaw a bit for easier cutting and dice them.
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine: Canadian
Keywords: East Coast Hash Browns, Fried Hash Browns, Hash Browns, Maritime Hash Browns, Old Fashioned Hash Browns, Twice Cooked Hash Browns
Author: JAH
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