Last weekend, over a casual family brunch, my daughter declared quite unexpectedly that the plate of hash she was enthusiastically tucking into was her favorite breakfast. This inquiring mind could not quite accept this new information on face value alone. I gently challenged her: better than pancakes? Yes, she affirmed without hesitation. Now don't be misled, Maddie loves pancakes but apparently she likes the hash more. Who knew? Understanding Maddie's undying love for the combination of butter and maple syrup, I was taken completely by surprise. Like any good detective, I had a follow-up question. So let me get this straight... do you like this hash better than daddy's French toast made with cinnamon raisin bread? A two second contemplation was followed by a resolute yes. Well, knock me over with a flapjack, I continue to learn something new every single day.
Roasted Chicken and Green Chile Hash
Every week I contemplate the conundrum of how to creatively use leftover chicken beyond a sandwich filling or salad topping. Of course, there are the standards: chicken enchiladas, Buffalo chicken pizza, chicken pesto pasta, tortilla soup, chicken curry salad and multitudes of casseroles.
Since I always have chicken in the refrigerator, the deciding factor for going forward with preparing hash is if there are leftover baked potatoes on my kitchen countertop, or if stored for more than a day, in the refrigerator. If I'm baking potatoes for a roast chicken dinner, I always add a few more to the oven to make hashed potatoes within the next few days.
To prepare baked potatoes, I scrub russett potatoes well and then puncture each potato once with the tines of a fork. I prefer to wrap individual potatoes in aluminum foil. I bake the large potatoes at 400° for approximately 75 to 90 minutes until tender. When the potatoes are ready, I remove from the oven to a serving plate that goes directly to the table. The potatoes stay piping hot for another 15 minutes or so until ready to eat. Leftover potatoes are unwrapped immediately so they can begin to cool down to room temperature without delay. Mishandled potatoes can lead to food poisoning. No kidding.
As a general rule of thumb, one large russett potato will serve two people. Last weekend, two large potatoes comfortably served three people, and could have happily fed four people with the addition of toast and jam.
olive oil, as needed
2 to 3 russett potatoes, baked and cut into bite-size chunks
1 to 1-1/2 cups leftover roasted chicken, preferably the dark meat, cut into bite-size pieces, or strips
1 small can roasted, peeled and diced green chilesabout 1/2 to 3/4 tsp sea salt
about 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
about 1 to 1-1/2 tsps Italian seasoning
about 1 tsp Mexican-style chili powder
about 1 tsp smoked paprika
about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
shredded cheddar cheese, such as Tillamook
1-2 eggs, per person
1-2 tablespoon white vinegar
1. In a large 12-inch or 14-inch frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat until warm. Add the diced potatoes, spreading to an even layer, then add some salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir occasionally to allow the potatoes to brown on all sides. When the potatoes are about about half done, add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning and a little more salt and pepper.
2. Fill a large pan (12" or 14") with about 3" of cold water and a glug of white vinegar, about 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons. Transfer to the stove; cover and turn the heat to high. For each person, crack 1 or 2 eggs into small, separate bowls. Set the bowls aside, until ready to poach the eggs.
3. In the meantime, when the potatoes are nearly done, add a little more oil, and toss the potatoes to distribute. Add the chicken and green chiles and toss again. Sprinkle on the chili powder and smoked paprika and toss again. Once the chicken is heated all the way through, turn the heat down to medium low and stir occasionally.
4. To poach the eggs: With the water boiling, slip the eggs from each bowl into the boiling water. Set a timer for 5 minutes. After a minute or so, the eggs will rise from the bottom to the surface. Eggs that were paired together in the bowl, will stay together in the water, making it easy to scoop a double-portion of eggs from the water once the eggs have finished cooking. If any of the eggs don't rise, with a long spoon or spatula, gently release the egg(s) from the bottom of the pot. (Alternatively, Linda poaches her eggs with a fancy-pants pan that has a poacher insert that makes lovely, uniform poached eggs in individual cups.)
5. While the eggs are poaching, divide the hash equally among the plates. Sprinkle each portion with some shredded cheddar cheese. When the eggs are ready, scoop the eggs up with a large slotted spoon, let the excess water drain back into the pot for a moment. Gently invert the eggs on top of each portion of hash, so the yolks are "sunny side up". Serve immediately with your favorite condiments, buttered toast and perhaps some freshly squeezed orange juice, brewed coffee or Linda's lattes.
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