Sweet Potato, Bacon & Apple Hash

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Good morning! Now that y'all are busy baking biscuits for breakfast, how about another recipe that's perfect for a cozy weekend morning? When it gets deep into winter beyond the holiday season, I'm always looking for creative ways to cook sweet potatoes and this one turned out to be a keeper. It's all done in one pan, so now would be the time to break out that seasoned cast iron skillet and put it to good use. What I like about hash is that much like stir fries, it's a relatively easy way to clean out the fridge and pantry at the end of the week and use up those leftover odds and ends. This recipe does a great job of highlighting the fall & winter seasons using both sweet potatoes and apples alongside smoky bacon, savory sage & rosemary, and a hint of cinnamon. Be sure to make use of your favorite local variety of apples - any crisp, sweet-tart apple will do! I wrote the quantities for the ingredients loosely, so adjust to fit the size of your skillet as needed. The key here is to only add enough sweet potatoes that will fit to cover the bottom of your skillet. That way, they'll crisp up nicely instead of steaming in an overcrowded pan.

We enjoyed our hash as a side to spinach & mozzarella omelettes per Jaden's request. However, it could just as easily be a main dish - add a fried egg on top and you've got an impressive, hearty winter meal on the table in no time!

P.S. If you love this recipe, check out my older posts where I used sweet potatoes to make spicy hash browns and a turkey sausage & white sweet potato hash!

Sweet Potato, Bacon & Apple Hash

6 strips organic uncured smoked bacon
Organic sweet potatoes, approx 2 cups diced
Organic apples, approx 1 1/2 cups diced
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
A few fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
Several sage leaves, finely chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Black pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste

Servings: 2 (as main dish), 4 (as side dish)
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Equipment Needed: Cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed, nonstick skillet

Typically I would prep all of my ingredients in advance of cooking, but because this dish has plenty of downtime in between adding ingredients to the skillet, you can prep as you go if you'd like. While the bacon cooks you can dice your onions and potatoes; while the potatoes cook you can dice the apples, and so on. Just keep your eye on what's cooking!  I ended up only using 3 of the above pictured sweet potatoes, or about 2 cups peeled and diced. As long as the sweet potatoes are organic, you can leave the skins on if you wish. Mine looked a little funky so I decided to peel them instead.

To a cold skillet, add 6 strips of  bacon, sliced into 1" pieces. Turn up the heat to medium and fry the bacon until crispy.

Carefully remove the cooked bacon and set aside on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve 3 tbsp bacon fat in the skillet. If you don't have quite enough fat left, you can supplement with a light olive oil or grapeseed oil. I almost always have leftover bacon fat in the fridge though!

Add the diced onions to the skillet and cook for a couple minutes until softened. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. The beauty of this hash from this point forward is that everything else stays in the skillet. The onions will continue to cook and caramelize through the very end. 

Add the diced sweet potatoes to the skillet. These are diced in about 1/2 inch cubes or so. You want them fairly small so that they cook through at the same rate that they crisp on the outside. And again, only add what can comfortably fit into the bottom of your skillet in a single layer. This is crucial to getting crispy potatoes. Press the sweet potatoes into the skillet and allow to cook for a few minutes on one side. You may need to adjust your heat slightly higher at this point.

After a few minutes, use your spatula to flip the potatoes over and press them back into the skillet to continue cooking. You'll repeat that a couple more times until the sweet potatoes have gotten crispy around the edges. If the pan gets dry at any point, add a little more bacon fat or oil. Season the sweet potatoes with a pinch of salt & pepper towards the end.

Add the chopped garlic, herbs and cinnamon. Toss to evenly distribute and cook just a minute or so until fragrant. I added the garlic and herbs at the end of the cooking process so that they wouldn't burn before we got to the finish line!

Reduce heat and add the diced apples to the skillet and cook just until the apples are warmed through. You want the apples to stay crisp, so that they contribute to the texture of the hash. By this point your sweet potatoes are tender, so make sure you are gently moving things around. You don't want to mash them.

Turn off the heat. Check seasoning; adjust salt & pepper if necessary. You shouldn't need a lot of salt though as the bacon adds plenty.

Add back the crispy bacon to the skillet. Toss to evenly distribute and serve hot!

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  2. I made this today & it was definitely comfort breakfast food! Mmmm mmm good!! I enjoyed it hot, and I had a second helping hours later when I also enjoyed it cold. :-D Thank you for this delicious breakfast recipe. I can't wait to try to make your buttermilk biscuit recipe next! I'm awaiting the arrival of that special flour.