Friday, December 25, 2015

Happiness = Cooking Christmas Breakfast with my Boy (Mexican Sweet Potato Hash with Sunny Side up Eggs)

Merry Christmas!

If you’ve read my blogs, or know me well, you won’t be surprised to hear that all I wanted for Christmas was to spend time with my family – and cook with Will.  He’s been my culinary sidekick since he was a little guy, and we make a great team in the kitchen. 

Both Christmas wishes came true this morning.
Scatter and squish
The inspiration for this breakfast came yesterday as Will and I watched Bobby Flay’s brunch show.  Funny thing is, the only things that are the same as Bobby’s dish is only the use of sweet potatoes and serving family style with the sunny side up eggs atop the hash.  But his show got us thinking about how to make a sweet potato hash with the flavor profile we gravitate toward – the traditional flavors of Mexico – cumin, coriander, poblano peppers, and cilantro.
Oh yeah, slid on those sunny side up eggs

The dish also gave us a chance to try out the cast iron pan Steve and Will got me for Christmas – by far the largest and heaviest cast iron skillet I’ve ever used.  

Here’s how Will and I put that bad boy to use this morning:

Mexican Sweet Potato Hash with Sunny Side Up Eggs
(Serves 4 – or 3 Barnett’s with leftovers for Will’s breakfast tomorrow)

  • ½ roll of Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage
  • 1 ½ sweet potato, cut into ½ inch cubes, boiled until just tender and then placed into a bowl of ice and water to stop the cooking.  We did this the night before, strained and kept in the fridge.
  • ¾ cup sweet onion, diced
  • ¾ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • ½ cup cilantro chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 4 eggs
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • Spices – Note, you will add these into the spices 2 to 3 times throughout the cooking process.  Measurements are approximations.  The amounts below are the total you will use, but feel free to add a bit more to taste.
    • 2 tsp ground cumin
    • 2 tsp ground coriander
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • ½ tsp chipotle chili powder (optional – if you have it use it! But no need to make a special trip to the store.
The method

Create the hash
  • Pre-heat a large cast iron skillet (or other pan of your liking), lower the heat to medium
  • Drizzle a little olive oil in the pan to get things going, then add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon
  • Sprinkle about a third of the spices, but no salt or pepper
  • Cook until browned, remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel
  • Now add a bit more olive oil to the pan and add in the onions, red pepper and poblano pepper – in that order, sautéing each one before adding the next.  Add the next third of the spices and keep sautéing.  You can add some salt and pepper at this stage, but go easy.
  • Now add in the sweet potatoes – and yes, you guessed it, the rest of the spices.  Scatter them into a single layer, squish them down with a spatula and step away.  You want this to cook low and slow to form a nice crust.
  • When you’ve started to see some crust formation, drizzle a tad more olive oil if necessary and flip, scatter and squish again.  This is best done with a spatula so you can get up those yummy crunchy bits.
  • Continue to follow this method until the right level of doneness is reached – then add the sausage back in, gently stirring as you go.
  • Now add 1/2 the cilantro and stir
  • Then pile up the hash into the center of the skillet….
  • Right about now you should lower the heat to the lowest setting an start the eggs

Cook the eggs
  • This is best served with a sunny side up egg, but if you like your eggs cooked longer, I won’t judge.  
  • To cook ours, Will heated a non-stick pan, added some butter (heck, it’s Christmas!), cracked in the eggs, added a bit of salt and pepper, lowered the flame and topped the pan with a plate, cuz my pan lacks a lid.  
  • The heat and steam cook the eggs to just the right doneness, no flipping required.

Assemble and serve
  • Once the eggs are done, slide them on top of the hash, divide into portions and serve, with a sprinkle of cilantro.