James (AKA MauiJim) has always hated hash with a passion. “That awful, mushy stuff,” as he puts it. “Tastes just like dog food smells,” is another of his customary remarks when the hash subject is broached. This man doesn’t mince words. And he knows what he likes.
Well, one evening with little in the refrigerator for inspiration but a dozen steamed new potatoes, one spritely green bell pepper, and a pound of ground pork, I concocted this gutsy dish in less than 20 minutes and served it forth with a green salad and corn muffins.
“Wow, this is great,” he says, as he heads back to the skillet for thirds. “What is it?”
The Best Damned Hash
I have no idea how this simple dish, with only a few staple ingredients, a couple of herbs, and a few spices, thrown together in under 20 minutes, can taste this gutsy and satisfying. But it does!
3 pounds White Rose or Red Pontiac boiling potatoes (about 12 medium-small potatoes)
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound ground pork *
1 tablespoon Gebhardt’s chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less if you can’t stand the heat)
1 green bell pepper, seeded, and chopped (or ½ green bell pepper and ½ red bell pepper)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
* INGREDIENT NOTE You can substitute ½ pound each ground pork and ground pork sausage (my favorite combo), or ½ pound each ground beef and ground pork for the ground pork specified above. Each combination produces its own unique hash. Each is tasty.
SERVING NOTE This is one of those rare dishes for which I don’t mind a bottle of good ketchup on the table. Really, you can’t buck tradition. Note, however, that I happened to have on hand a bottle of Dulcet Peppery Moroccan Ketchup. Now that’s SERIOUSLY good ketchup.
- Steam the potatoes over boiling water for about 40 minutes, until they are just tender but still quite firm. Remove from the steamer, cool, then chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. This step may be done hours or even days ahead. Just before beginning the hash, dice the potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes.
- In a large, preferably nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, and sauté the onions over brisk heat to lightly brown and soften them, about 10 minutes.
- Add the ground pork, chili powder, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes and brown the pork well, breaking it up into small bits with a fork while browning.
- If necessary, drain off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet. Add bell pepper and garlic, toss to combine, and heat through for about 3 minutes. Turn heat down to low and keep warm.
- In another large, preferably nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, add half the potatoes, and toss lightly to combine. Sauté until nicely browned and season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add to the pork skillet. Repeat with the remaining half of potatoes.
- Turn the heat up on the pork skillet and heat everything through. Taste and season with salt and black pepper as needed. Serve right away.
Serves 2, if James is at the table; but 4 otherwise.