A while ago I began a series on epic feasting. I always love the parts of fantasy epics and myths where the weary travelers seek refuge in a homely house after a long journey or difficult struggle. Finding comfort after a period of deprivation makes the characters all the more attuned to the sensory delights of warmth, kindness, and of course, food. Last time I featured a hearty soup of apple, cheddar, potato, and beer. This time, I’m tackling the first morning after a good night’s sleep. The characters wake to the tempting aroma of a well prepared breakfast. It’s usually something simple and familiar, so I am going to feature a simple recipe that – and my family can attest to this – would be delightful to wake to. Now, I love elaborate breakfasts, but I also love sleeping in, so I have chosen a recipe that is quick and easy to make, but also hearty, homey, colorful, and aromatic. It’s colorful, easy to prepare in the morning before everyone else is awake, and it looks and tastes as wonderful as it smells: a very Simple Breakfast Hash.
This is perfect for the morning, as it only takes about 20 minutes, depending on how fast you chop vegetables, and while the hash cooks, you can clean up from the prep work, put the coffee on, feed the dog, raise the shades, cook the eggs, or do whatever other morning chores you have on your docket.
- Cutting Board
- Chef’s Knife
- Large Skillet
- Fry Pan
- Stirring Spoon
- 1 bag of small tricolor potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes (serves about 4-6)
- 1 tablespoon of butter per bag of potatoes (and a bit more handy for frying eggs)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 small (or 1/2 large) sweet onion, chopped rustically
- salt and pepper
- As many eggs as you like (1-2 per person)
1. First and foremost, mise en place. Wash and prepare the potatoes, the onion, and the parsley, and set out the butter, salt, pepper, and eggs.
2. Heat a tablespoon of butter in the large skillet over medium heat until just melted, and then add the chopped onion. Cook until the onion is translucent.
3. Add the chopped potato, and a light round of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly, and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender but not soft. You’ll want to stir frequently so you can keep an eye out. You should be able to spear the potatoes with a fork, but they should be firm enough to be picked up without falling apart at all.
4. Meanwhile, this is your chance to do those chores I mentioned earlier, or to put the coffee on. There’s really nothing like the smell of coffee to begin to stir your house guests and draw them to the kitchen.
5. When the potatoes are firm but spearable, add the fresh parsley and stir together. Add another light round of salt and pepper, and whatever other herbs you may desire – I like to add rosemary and thyme if I have them fresh. If the mixture looks too dry, add a bit more butter, but don’t add too much as you’ll want the potatoes to brown. Cook covered for another 5 minutes or so, checking (without stirring too much) frequently, until the potatoes are softened but not mushy, and browned.
6. In the meantime, fry up some eggs (protein is the key to a fulfilling breakfast). Heat a pat of butter in the fry pan until hot, and then crack in an egg or two per houseguest (don’t overfill the pan, of course). Fry to taste – I like my over easy, but some prefer them sunny side up, cooked through, or just the tiniest bit dippy. By now, the aroma of cooking butter and onion – and not to mention coffee – will have roused your weary travelers so you can ask them their preference.
7. By now, your potatoes and coffee should be ready, so all that is left to do is serve it out and enjoy.
Voila! A colorful, aromatic breakfast that is hearty enough for the homiest fairy tale cottage, but simple enough for the host who wishes to sleep in just a little. Serve with toast, ketchup, tea, orange juice, fruit, or anything else you like. Keep it colorful and aromatic, and you’ll have some very happy heroes at your breakfast table.