Hashbrowns revisited

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by IveofIone, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. IveofIone Active Member

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    A few years back a posted a thread on hashbrowns and what I was doing at the time in my search for the perfect plate of spuds. There were a number of responses and some were very good, I have taken those responses seriously and kept on trying to improve. There were a number of bad responses as well and it was apparent that some guys were eating grease soaked gut bombs that I wouldn't even feed to my dog. Cholesterol cannisters that would make a good heart turn bad.

    At the risk of pissing some more people off here are my current thoughts on this epicurean delight.

    Shreds. There are several ways to shred the spuds-typical box grater, course blade in the Cuisinart, mandolin type shredder, etc. I have all of the above plus a blade I take when camping. To get the big shreds I want I bought a German Borner mandolin type grater. Even though it is all plastic I have shredded on it for several years and it is still sharp. The course blade on my Cuisinart was not course enough so I opened up the gape on the cutters with a tapered punch then ground the cutting face to a razor edge with a MotoTool grinder. This will shred 3 good sized potatoes in about 6 seconds. My camping blade got the same treatment-augered out the holes with needle nosed pliars and ground the teeth sharp. Now I have nice big shreds.

    Pan. I am not using cast iron anymore since I simply flip the potatoes in the air when the first side is cooked. I am using a relatively inexpensive aluminum pan with a thick bottom and gently tapered sides. It is much easier to flip, heats quickly and just cooks beautifully.

    I am liking the gold potatoes nowadays, they are a little more expensive but worth it. I peel, shred, rinse in cold water and spin in a salad spinner. I have a new spinner with a little pull cord that gets the potatoes much drier than the old one did. Not boiling the potatoes any more, I just put them on a large plate uncovered and microwave them for 3 1/2 minutes. My old microwave required 4 minutes, your results may vary. Camping trips still require boiling for awhile

    In the pan I use 1 TBL of Crisco and 1 TSP of butter on pretty high heat. When I put the potatoes in the pan I toss and stir them to get them fully coated with the oil. Then herd the shreds into kind of a pancake in the center of the pan and cook till they are nice and brown on the bottom. This is for a batch of 3 potatoes, the amount I usually make for myself. More potatoes=more Crisco and butter. I had used canola oil for a long time but it had a little aftertaste that I just didn't like. Crisco which is wonderful in pie crust is just as good here and the small amount of butter adds a richness that you don't get with just plain oil. I end up with potatoes that are crisp on the outside and creamy in the middle and are hardly greasy at all.

    It took a while but now I am getting a perfect plate of hashies almost by rote. First rate comfort food. Now I think I will start honing my skills on home made donuts. Seems like a worthy goal.

    Ive
  2. Mark Walker Active Member

    Posts: 2,699
    So. Cal.
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    Great all around info, Ive.
    I'll second the yellow potatoes, but I like to bake'em the night before and let them cool 'till the next morning.
    I have no desire to live forever, so I use good 'ol Manteca for frying. For those that might not be familiar with Manteca, it's a fancy label for plain old, artery blockin', tasty lard!
    If I'm makin' bacon and eggs, bacon drippings work well, too.
    Some finely diced red/yellow bell pepper, garlic/onion added to the "taters" and sometimes, a couple dashes of "Tony Charchere's Original Creole Seasoning" for a little touch of "zip".
    Mmm mm...
  3. bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    took a while but now I am getting a perfect plate of hashies almost by rote. First rate comfort food. Now I think I will start honing my skills on home made donuts. Seems like a worthy goal(.Quote Iveofione)

    I was hoping Ive would work on a biscuit & gravy recipe .That recipe for biscuits that he posted is excellent & a saturday morning favorite at my house, now I need some gravy to go with it.
  4. Dave Alberts Member

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    Lakewood, WA
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    At the risk of sounding like a total "heathen" Ive, have you tried the dehydrated hash browns...?? The shreds arn't as large as what you like, but for tasted and texture, I find them to be quite satisfactory.

    I suspect that Mark won't pass on this opportunity to trash my thought, but if my memory serves correctly he was first in line to scrape out the crumbs at our last KC breakfast...

    Merry Christmas!!
  5. Steve Call Active Member

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    Wetside, WA
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    Dave, it was the bacon grease the hash browns were cooked in that Mark was after.

    Ive, your hash browns sound great, but I'm at a loss to picture what it is you did with your knife. Can you post a picture?
  6. jeff bandy Make my day

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    Edmonds, Wa.
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    Bacon grease, the duct tape of the cooking world.
  7. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

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    I've worked on mine as well. Got a tip from a short order cook that's been the bomb. 1st make sure hashbrowns are defrosted and wring as much of the water in them as possible. Cheese cloth or paper towels work great for that. You are on right track. Dollup of crisco is way to go. Now herwes the biggest tip. I too won't use cast iron. I use my big steel griddle. But the tip is to put that dollup of crisco on the hotspot of whatever you are using and put WEIGHT on the potatoes. I use a bacon press. Leave it in place until you see that nicew crisp edge. Now.....flip it ONCE with no added weight. Just let it come up to temp a bit underneath and serve.

    I know a good gravy recipe. :)
  8. Steve Call Active Member

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    Wetside, WA
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    I've seen the light!
  9. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

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    Kitsap Peninsula
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    Ive, this is great stuff. I too have tried a few different things and your method sounds tasty. I agree with Jerry and putting something atop the shredded spuds for cooking the first side. On backpacking trips I'll use Dave's dehydrated method too. I love hash browns, and if I can add gravy atop them, even better.
  10. IveofIone Active Member

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    A little story about freeze dried hashbrowns: In 1966 4 of us did the Enchanted Gorge in California's Sierra Nevada. The Gorge is one of the two most difficult places in the state to reach on foot and makes some real demands on those who go there. Our second day out we traversed three 12,000' passes before dropping into the Gorge on the morning of the 3rd day. Our evening meal on that second day was eaten at the Muir Pass hut and consisted of freeze dried pork chops, freeze dried gravy, freeze dried applesauce, freeze dried hashbrowns and copious amounts of Wylers lemonade. To this day I remember that as the most delicious meal I have ever eaten in my life. And perhaps the most needed!

    After climbing out of the Gorge on the way back we stopped at the summit of Bishop Pass and cooked all of the food we had left since we only had a few downhill miles to go. From there we could almost smell the hamburgers and fries and taste the milkshakes that were just a few miles ahead.

    Ive
  11. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,268
    Kitsap Peninsula
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    Ive, you should reflect back on that 1966 trip and do a memory sharing trip report. I think that would be fantastic. Here is to Wylers lemonade and backpacking hard enough to make anything a great meal. It has been quite a few years, before children, that I've done a tough trip, but now that the chicklets are settling into their backpacks...such a trip should happen again soon. Ed
  12. bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    I know a good gravy recipe. (Quote jerry daschofsky)

    The thing is, just what is the price of gaining this knowledge?
  13. IveofIone Active Member

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    Yeah, c'mon Jerry-cough up that recipe! Biscuits and gravy are on my forbidden list due to the deleterious effect on my waist line but hell, I could at least TRY 'em.......
  14. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

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    I could tell you all my recipe. But then I'd have to kill you all. Who wants to deal with that? ;)

    Ok. Key to a good country gravy is starting with a rue. Don't toss your liquid in and try pouring in a cornstarch/milk mixture when it comes to country gravy. Your giblet/scrapings gravy ok, but better quality with a rue in country gravy.

    People who have had mine can testify to how it tastes. I'm giving you rough measurements because I've always done it from scratch like my Dad did. So am guestimating here. I start by frying up the sausage in the pot (I use country sausage not plain ground pork). Make sure you break it down and let it fry up well. You should have some grease left.....LEAVE IT do not pour out. Now toss in a stick of butter (cut it up to melt faster). Once melted toss in about a 1/4 cup flour (guessing I'm just used to how much to dump in). Let that flour absorb into the grease/sausage/butter mixture and let it fry up for bit. You want to cook that raw flour taste out. Once you get a nice golden color to your lumpy mixture (lumpy because of sausage) pour in HALF AND HALF! Turn heat up a bit and let it barely boil (just a sllllloooowww bubble up). This is when you season to taste. I add a little garlic salt, pepper, and regular salt. Usually at this point as its at a slight boil it'll thicken down. If you have too much half and half then add a small cup of milk/corn starch mixture to it.

    Enjoy!
  15. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    Mine's somewhat different: I use about a half a pound of Jimmy Dean and about a half-pound of diced bacon, sautee some diced yellow onions in the grease, throw in some minced garlic, pour the flour into it, , and brown the roux, then add the milk, and cook until it thickens. I just ladle it over cubes of french bread, not having learned how to make biscuts in the ol` dutch oven yet...
  16. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

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    DWe never put onions in our country/sausage gravy. Maybe a touch of onion powder but something that was never done. Other gravies yes and a traditional "SOS" yes. So far no one complains. But I make it same way my family has in Nebraska since the 1800's.
  17. Kaari White Member

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    Jerry, your gravy sounds awesome!! Mine is similar to yours, but I've never had the guts to use half and half, I've used milk instead. Your rue, how thick is it? Is it doughy or pretty runny?

    Best hash browns I've ever had have been from Blue Acre Seafood in Seattle, their "Potatoes Minneapolis." Incredible!
  18. Matt Baerwalde ...

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    I'm gonna have to try those Blue Acre hash browns. I've been pissing and moaning that Seattle has no decent hash browns for years. Anyone else love Waffle House hash browns? Hard to beat in my book. Great topic. Sounds like Ive and Jerry have it down pat. Jerry definitely makes country gravy the right way. Put that on some country fried steak...oh man. I mean seriously you could put that sausage gravy on cardboard and it would eat great.
  19. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,579
    Graham, WA, USA.
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    Kaari, I like my rue thick. Its very pasty. No worries on using milk. You just get a much richer deeper flavor with half and half.

    Yup Matt, is perfect over chicken fried steaks. I do the midwest thing more and do chicken fried pork tenderloins (tenderized so its like cube steak).
  20. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,426
    Snohomish, WA
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    1. Take small knife in hand.
    2. Slice open package of frozen hash brown patties.
    3. Remove hash brown patty and heat in microwave.
    4. Take can opener in hand.
    5. Open can of country gravy.
    6. Heat gravy in microwave.
    7. Pour gravy over heated hash brown patty.
    8. Serve and enjoy.

    Best washed down with the half can of Bud Light that you found sitting on the counter from the night before.
    Patrick Gould likes this.