But....... I also want a good breakfast. Steel-cut oats, granola, egg quesadillas, muffins, smoothies, banana bread, pancakes, scones, yogurt with fruit... I even like breakfast for dinner (I could go on and on). Are you getting the idea that I like breakfast? A lot? And I love hash browns too, but with all the shredding and squeezing, they're too much effort for a regular weekday breakfast. Until now.
Thanks to this method that a friend clued me into, we've been having truck-stop-worthy hash browns whenever we want. They go straight from freezer to frying pan. No fuss, no muss, and no early morning exertion... practically no brain function necessary at all!
Freezer Hash Browns
These hash browns start out in the slow cooker, hang around in the freezer, and are ready whenever you are to finish up in a hot skillet. The secret is in the prep... days ahead of time. That's where the fuss and muss comes in (and that's why I do a BIG batch of these).
- Scrub and dry a bunch of Russet potatoes and place them in a slow cooker. Use enough to make at least a single layer... or fill it up for a big batch. Put the lid on it.
- Slow cook on High for 2 hours for regular Russets (you'll need at least 3 hours for the super-grande CostCo-sized Russets).
- Let them get cool enough to handle, then peel them.
- Next, shred them. I've done them on a box grater by hand, and that will work just fine, but if you're making a big batch, use the food processor with a shredding disc. Your hands and wrists will thank you.
- Put the shredded potatoes in a rimmed sheet pan (or two) lined with a Silpat or parchment and flatten them out. With a spatula or bench scraper cut them in place into manageable portions. Put the pan in the freezer.
- Once they're frozen, transfer the portions into big freezer bags or other freezer-safe containers for storing in the freezer. They should keep for a couple of months (we usually run out before then).
So it's morning, again, and hash browns sound really good... no problem, I'm prepared! These cook mostly "unattended" but don't leave the kitchen! I get the rest of the meal together while the potatoes cook and I check on them every few minutes.
- Heat up a heavy medium-sized skillet to medium heat (#5) or so, and add a tablespoon of butter, bacon fat, or cooking oil. You want it sizzling but not smoking.
- Take out 2-4 portions of shredded potatoes and place them in the hot skillet.
- Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top and wait until the potatoes are good and crispy golden brown on the bottom.
- You can either flip the portions over intact (takes some practice), or flip them over casually, poking and stirring them around for a looser hash as they cook on the other side. Either way, add a bit more fat to the pan if you need to and season the top side of the potatoes with a little salt. Once they're cooked through and crispy to your liking... they're done!
Being early morning and me facing last night's dinner dishes still in the sink (yeah, I know), I decided not only to cook the eggs in the same pan as the hash browns, but.... I didn't even whisk them in a separate bowl first. And... I cooked them fast in a hot skillet (some argue that eggs should only be cooked on low heat).
While the hash browns are cooking, snip and chop a handful of fresh herbs if you've got 'em. Get the eggs out of the fridge, shred a bit of cheese; you'll want everything ready because these eggs cook really fast...
- As soon as the hash browns are done, push them to one side of the pan and quickly crack the eggs directly into the other side of the same pan.
- Let the eggs bubble up for a couple of seconds, then push them around a bit to let all of it set and cook through. It won't take long.
- Just before the eggs are how you like them, grate a little bit of cheese over them and toss some chopped herbs in with them too.
- Turn off the heat, and serve immediately.