Hash browns are like crack

The only, and I mean only reason I ever go to McDonalds is for their morning hash browns. I desire nothing more for so long before caving as their hash browns. And like crack, nothing leaves me wanting more within a few minutes of finishing. I’d steal a car radio at this moment if it meant me getting a McD hash brown.

I’ve tried in the past to create at home the goodness that is a McDonald’s hash brown, and always fail. I’ve tried the packaged hash browns found in the supermarket freezer, then baking them (too dry), then microwaving (too wet and disgusting), then frying in a pan (burnt on the outside, raw in the middle), and finally microwaving a bit, then cooking in an omelet (bleh!).

So tonight I decided to try them on my George Foreman grill (I hate typing that, how about hot-plate-that’s-impossible-to-clean grill?). I plopped 2 on and let them cook 20 minutes.

The flavor actually surpassed the McDonald’s flavor. AND, I had 2! It was so good I just plopped 2 more on. Damn!

So, recipe threads being my favorite, anyone have a hash brown recipe to share?

Aw yeah I like to take those frozen ones, microwave them until they’re hot then pan fry them in butter until the outside is crispy and sprinkle them with onion powder. Cook up some maple syrup sausage links and a couple of eggs and breakfast is served!

My recipe for my favorite version of hash browns:

  1. Get a bag of regular Russets, wash thoroughly with a vegetable scrubber so the skins are shiny.
  2. Put all in a big pot and cover with water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then let simmer covered for 30-40 mins, or until the skins start to split. Poke with a fork to make sure the centers are cooked.
  4. Drain the pot, then cover and let cool.
  5. Once the potatoes are cool enough, lay down some paper towels on a shelf in the refrigerator and place all the potatoes on it. Let them dry out overnight.
  6. The next day, take however many potatoes you need, peel the skins off, then grate them with a coarse grater.
  7. Add about a tablespoon of high heat oil (safflower works well) into a big frying pan, drop in a single potato grate and turn on high heat. Stainless steel work best here. A non stick surface lets the oil pool up too much.
  8. Once the single grate starts frying, quickly sprinkle in a bunch of the grated potato about 1/2" thick.
  9. Fry until the bottom is golden brown (about 10-15 minutes on my stove).
  10. Now the tricky part. Use a spatula to free any stuck parts on the bottom, then flip the entire pan over a board or plate so that the uncooked part is face down.
  11. Now add another 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon oil covering the pan, let heat for several seconds, then slide the hash onto the pan. Fry until the bottom is golden brown.
  12. Remove from heat, put on plate, add salt to taste.

One variation I sometimes do is grate a raw potato into a bunch of the cooked ones and cook longer at a medium high heat. This will make an extra crunchy hash brown.

I’ve been playing around with potatoes lately trying to come up with a simple-yet-tasty breakfast side. I’ve tried varieties of the hash browns similar to mike’s recipe, but have found that grated potatoes (even after boiled and refrigerated overnight) tend to fry up as a gloopy mess.

My current favorite technique is simple as hell and quite tasty:[ul]
[li]Heat up a decent size frying pan with oil*[/li][li]Peel one potato[/li][li]Slice it into sections around 3/4 thickness of a pencil [/li][li]Cut all the pieces in half, and again for any pieces still bigger than a mouthful[/li][li]Fry them up in a single layer (careful of splatter when you put them in)[/li][li]Once the bottoms are that yummy brown color, flip and cook the other side[/li][li]Once done I drain the potatos on paper towels, salting to taste[/ul][/li]* I’ve been experimenting with how much oil to use, pouring by sight each time. My experience has been that too much is preferable to too little. If I had to guess, I’d say maybe 1-2 tablespoons. Same deal with salting. I usually salt twice, shaking the paper towel to distribute it, but I tend to oversalt them and then get annoyed. heh.

Makes a nice breakfast side for 2-3 people, or just 1 if you’re hungry. I pair it with bacon and eggs.

McDonald’s are great but I also love Denny’s Hash Browns

I fry everything at medium heat, btw, and if I had to guess, I’d say maybe 5 minutes per side. Usually I just lift a section at random to peek at the color, as opposed to frying for a set time.

Awhile ago I tried a ridiculously fussy recipe from nytimes, actually called for clarified butter for God’s sake. They were pretty mediocre. Then I found a recipe online for fried potatoes, if not exactly hash browns:
-Dice 'em.
-Add salt and pepper.
-Put 3 Tbsp butter in a pan.
-Cook 'em covered for 10 minutes, or until browned on bottom.
-Uncover, and cook 'em for 10 more minutes, stirring, until brown and crispy all over.

They’re pretty easy this way, and they come out pretty well. Russets seem to work much better than fancier potatoes.

Grate up a fresh russet (no pre-cooking), chop some red onion or green onions, shred some Parmesan. Heat up bacon fat until med-hi. Dump all the potatoes in and spread evenly. Cover and let brown on first side. Remove cover, turn heat down to medium and flip all the potatoes at once. Sprinkle chopped onions on top (or saute separately and add). When the potatoes are close to done, sprinkle Parmesan on top and let melt. Slide out onto a large plate. Top with over-easy eggs.

  1. Dice a slice of bacon and start it cooking on high in a non-stick 9" pan.
  2. Dice a large potato into 1/4 inch.
  3. Add to half-cooked bacon along with generous dashes of lemon pepper (and crushed red pepper).
  4. Turn heat to medium and cook until potatoes are browned - turn occasionally.
  5. Add shredded cheese and let melt.
  6. Lightly beat and egg with bit of water and pour over eggs. Add grated parm or other cheese.
  7. Stir quicky and cover until eggs are set.

Optionally, flip on to a plate and slide back into pan to brown both sides.

That sounds really, really good!

Variations are endless, add some diced green peppers or onion when taters are half cooked, used diced ham and olive oil instead of bacon, use sausage instead of bacon. Add another egg.

If you flip and brown on both sides, it is really sort of a bastardized spanish tortilla.

Waffle House, a double order of hash-browns, add ketchup, served next to a BLT. That’s good eating and cheap. Plus it’s always entertaining watching the people who work at a WH. Better than a traveling circus.

*Especially *when they’re angry at each other – good times.

One time, my parents had picked my daughter and me up from a redeye plane flight, so we wandered into a Denny’s, hoping to get some grub. As it happened, the cook hadn’t shown up for work that shift, so the manager was trying to cook…and she’d never cooked professionally before. Which might explain some of the meals that I’ve had at Denny’s. So we didn’t get much of a meal, but we DID get quite a show. The manager was exploding, and she was trying to get one of the servers to admit that he could cook the meals better than she could.

If I was there, I’d be saying “Gimme an apron and don’t get between me and the stove!” I don’t cook professionally either, but if they’d at least let me cook my own, it would be one less complaint they’d have that day.

As for the hashbrowns, one of my favorites was the house brand (Main Street?) patties at Smart & Final, heated up on a barbecue grill. We were feeding people by the dozens outside, and the camp stoves were all occupied with eggs. They got just enough dry-roasted char to be yummy that way.

Some fridges don’t do a good job of reducing the humidity inside. You could refrigerate them overnight, then put them in a warm oven (less than 200 deg) to help the drying.

My boiled potatoes get really dry after about a day in my fridge, so they make nice, light, tasty hash browns.

Microwaving potatoes instead of boiling might work, but the microwave cooks unevenly, even on a turntable, so you’ll have to experiment with turning them over every few minutes.

Ah, Waffle House. Once some friends and I went there post-midnight, and our waitress was this plump little grandmother with a twinkle in her eye and a bounce in her step. I ordered a slice of pie, and her face just lit up. “Oh!” she said. “I love it when someone orders pie! It means I get to lick the knife.”

Why take off the skins? I like to shred potatoes, skins and all. The skin portions fry up extra-crispy. I just can’t see any reason to eliminate them.

I don’t like the taste or texture of potato skins. So I never eat them. And yes, that includes mashed potatoes with bits of skin in them.

Skins in mashed potatoes is nasty!