Why is it so hard to obtain crispy potatoes at home?
I was having a game day brunch that I needed to whip something up for to go with my frittata. I say “game day” but I really mean “game night” except that we were getting together at brunch-time. “Game day” has the connotation of watching sports, which is entirely the opposite of what my gaming group does. (Really we play involved games with a lot of instructions, rule interpretation, and fierce alliance building and breaking, but I digress.)
I came across this recipe and it really couldn’t be easier: mix frozen potatoes with an egg, sausage, some oil and spices, put it all in a cast iron skillet and pop it in the oven for 45 minutes. Add cheese once it’s crispy. For some reason, it’s much harder than you would think to make crispy potatoes at home. Maybe it’s because you’re just not gonna deep fry them, or maybe there is some kind of magic that is sprinkled on them in restaurant kitchens. This recipe does it. It takes a while in the oven, but you get there.
While this is extremely fast and easy to throw together, it does take the full 45 minutes in the oven if not a few minutes longer, plus an extra couple minutes for the cheese to melt, so you want to keep that in mind and allow yourself enough time for it to cook. Once it’s in the oven, though, it’s very “set it and forget it.”
The potatoes were definitely turned out crispy and stayed crispy upon cooling to room temp. The only issue I found with this recipe is that, even with the layer of cheese on top, the wedges of hash browns didn’t really hold together in a pie piece like I wanted them to. Next time I think I may add an extra egg to see if it will help the whole thing stick together like a hash brown pie, of sorts.
Cast Iron Hash Browns with Smoked Sausage
- 1/2lb smoked sausage (give or take, cubed)
- 1 15 oz bag of hash browns
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 1/4 cup grated cheddar
- scallions (sliced, for garnish)
|Preheat the oven to 425. Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the cubed smoked sausage and cook well, until the fat has rendered out and the pieces are nice and crispy. Keep warm, but pull about 1/4 of it out to garnish the top of the dish with.|
|Meanwhile, mix the potatoes, oil, egg and spices in a large bowl. Add to the cast iron skillet (with the meat still in there). Immediately put the skillet in the oven and cook until crispy, about 45 minutes. Once crispy add the cheese and put it back in the oven until melted, just a minute or two. Top with the set aside smoked sausage and scallions, if using. Cut into wedges and serve warm.|
Non game substitution: Any breakfast or smoked sausage will work here.
Vegetarian substitution: Simply leave out the meat!