Sweet Potato Hashbrown Casserole

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Recipes posted a year ago:

This recipe started out as a crispy hashbrown “cake” (something like a Rösti) that failed to crisp in the pan.  There were a lot of reasons (too much potato, not having a well-seasoned iron pan), but rather than give in to failure, I simply revised the cooking method and arrived at this tasty breakfast casserole that goes great with a couple of fresh eggs.  If you’ve got a hungry morning crew, make sure to start early, though, because this one takes a good 45 minutes to cook, plus prep time.  As for crispy hashbrowns – I’ll be heading back to the drawing board on those.

Gather Up:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 1 medium leek, sliced thinly (pale green and white parts only, about 1 cup)
  • 6~8 medium mushrooms, sliced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 tbsp pastured butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Working in small batches (a fist full at a time), sqeeze as much liquid out of the potatoes as you can.  Place the squeezed potatoes in a large mixing bowl as you go.

Meanwhile, start cooking the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook for a few minutes, then add all but about 1 tablespoon of the sliced leeks.  Continue cooking until the leeks are soft and the bacon is reasonably crispy.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mixture (leaving the fat in the pan) to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain, then transfer to a small mixing bowl.

Add the butter and coconut oil to the skillet and stir until it is all melted together with the bacon fat.  Pour off into a heat-proof bowl and wipe the lip of the pan before setting back on the stove (you can leave it off the burner for the time being).  Add two tablespoons of the fat mixture to the bacon and leeks and stir, then add these to the bowl of sweet potatoes.  Add in the mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and toss everything to mix well.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Return the heavy skillet to the stove over medium-low heat and add 3 tablespoons of the fat mixture to the pan.  Press the potato mixture into the pan once it is hot, and tent loosely with foil.  Let cook for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for an additional 5 minutes untented.

After it has cooked in the skillet, invert the whole thing into a 9-inch pie pan (you could also invert it into another oven-safe skillet).  Place in the oven and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is crispy and the potatoes are cooked all the way through.

Garnish with the reserved leeks and serve with some fresh poached or over-easy fried eggs.  Dig in!

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