You know the ones. Crisp and golden brown on both sides with perfectly cooked potato in between that almost seem creamy compared to it's crusty exterior. The ones that cry for some fried eggs or a pan seared rib-eye steak. The ones you dream about. These are those. No kidding. I would not kid about something this serious ;).
It has taken me 10 long unfathomable years to finally find THE method that re-creates those diner dreams in my own kitchen. Up until now they were always gummy, improperly seasoned and usually had a strong onion flavor. They were a nightmare and I just couldn't figure it out. Well, thankfully the answer to my hash brown dreams was printed in the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living and I am grateful beyond words.
Look! Are these gorgeous or what?
Fresh out of the pan. Take picture.
Slice. Take picture.
GONE!!! Take picture.
Have sweet hash brown dreams and a great weekend.
Recipe: Real Hash Browns
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine; February 2009
6 slices of bacon (I used 3 to cut the fat a bit but 6 is what the recipe calls for), cut into 1/4" dice
1 small onion, diced (I grated mine)
2 Yukon Gold Potatoes (I used Russets and they worked great)
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or you can use the bacon fat left in the pan...Shhh...I won't tell)
Cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8-10 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, reserving the drippings, and then place in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
Grate the onion and potatoes on the largest holes of a box grater or use the grater attachment on your food processor. Place in a colander and run under cold water for 2 minutes. (This rinses the starch off of the potatoes so they won't be gummy and gross and it also knocks down the strong onion flavor so as not to overpower the hash browns). Put potatoes and onions in cheesecloth or a kitchen towel and squeeze out as much water as possible. The drier the better. Put in the bowl with the bacon, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 12" non-stick skillet (they used a medium cast iron skillet), heat the drippings or the EVOO over high heat. Spread potato mixture evenly on bottom of pan. Press mixture down firmly with a spatula. Turn heat to medium-low and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Transfer skillet to oven, and bake until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes. (These were the times written in the original directions and for my stove and oven they worked perfectly).
Variation: If you want to take these over the top? Put some grated cheddar on the hash browns before they go into the oven and then garnish with sliced green onions!