First of all, I realize this is not the prettiest picture and by some standards may land me into the realm of ugly food. And while some might argue that the looks of food does not matter, I do beg to differ; to me, food is just as much about presentation. That is, after you’ve succeeded in the taste and texture departments!
However, I also think there are foods that just do not lend themselves particularly well to beauty. One of them being hash. I mean, we’re talking about a mixed up, mushed up, fried blend of potatoes, vegetables, and meat. And then, let’s say you throw an egg on top of there. And it’s your first time ever poaching an egg, and you’re doing it out of love because you know how much your husband loves poached eggs. And you kind of mess it up a little – as it turns out, poaching takes a little practice.
Anyway, I will stop going on about ugly food, and move on to food inspiration. One of the things I love about cooking is being able to recreate something delicious I’ve tasted in a restaurant. There’s a certain joy in eating about being able to decipher the layers of taste. And as a cook, thinking about the possible ways to recreate that is equally enjoyable. I’d even venture to say this is part of my problem-solving nature, something that lead me to my professional life: a career in engineering. So now I’ve just equated cooking to engineering. Sweet!
This past summer, I went for brunch with a couple girlfriends at Stephanie’s on Newbury. I ordered the Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash – we all enjoyed it very much and Vanessa even told me I *must* figure out how to make it. Fast forward several months and into the cold winter tundra, I had leftover meat from roasting a chicken and remembered this dish. I remembered how well the sweet and spicy flavors went together. I had an ingredient set in mind, but in all honesty I wasn’t quite sure how to make hash. I checked out a few different recipes, and took pieces here and there to come up with something quick, easy, and healthy. The result? A comforting dinner which tasted wonderful, even if it didn’t look so pretty. Finally, without further adieu, the recipe:
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1/2 lb)
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro
1 small onion, chopped
1 greed or red pepper, diced
1.5 cups diced, cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain.
2. Transfer 1/2 of the mixture to a large bowl; mash. Stir in sour cream, maple syrup, chipotle peppers, and cilantro. Add the remaining unmashed potatoes and stir gently to mix. Set aside.
3. Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and peppers, and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken, salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
4. Gently combine onion mixture with sweet potatoes.
5. Turn mixture onto nonstick skillet, and cook until bottom is lightly browned, pressing down with a spatula, about 4 minutes. Cut the hash into several rough sections; flip and cook until the undersides are browned, about 4 minutes longer. Serve immediately, with poached eggs if desired.