Brussels Sprout Sweet Potato Hash

Brussels Sprout Sweet Potato Hash

We’re away for the weekend celebrating our two-year wedding anniversary. Jon’s family has a cabin in upstate New York, so we decided to come here for a quiet and relaxing getaway out in the middle of nowhere. One of my favorite things about coming to the cabin has always been cooking while we’re here, which is weird because normally, trying new restaurants is one of my favorite things to do when travelling. For some reason I just have no desire to do that when we’re at the cabin. Instead, we always load up the car with a bunch of groceries, and then supplement our meals with meat from this little butcher shop up the road once we arrive.   

When we got here on Friday, it was 78 degrees and sunny. I was wearing a tank top, running laps around the cabin with Nash, and sweating. When we woke up yesterday morning, it was 30 degrees and snowing, and it continued to snow throughout the day. Needless to say, we were in no rush to leave the house. Jon did end up running out to get eggs, so while he was gone, I settled in to make a hearty breakfast that would keep us full and warm. 

I think part of what I enjoy about cooking at the cabin is the challenge of it. You see, there’s not really any counter space in this tiny kitchen, just a sink and a stove, so instead, I pull a chair up to the table and do all of my prep work sitting down, which, if you’ve never done before, is not as comfortable and lazy as it sounds. Let’s just say that chopping while sitting is an entirely different game than chopping while standing, especially when we’re talking sweet potatoes. Another challenge is the fact that the oven doesn't work, only the burners on the stove top. So, when we're here and inclement weather keeps us from grilling, pretty much everything we make is either seared, sautéed, or boiled.   

Jon makes the BEST scrambled eggs (see, another stove top-friendly option!) so we served those alongside this vegetable hash that's bursting with delicious fall flavors and studded with the obligatory pieces of bacon that make breakfast, well, breakfast. 

Brussels Sprout Sweet Potato Hash
Serves 4 as a side

4 slices nitrate-free thick-cut bacon
1 very large leek, trimmed, rinsed clean of any sand or dirt, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
½ sprig rosemary, leaves stripped, finely chopped
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled, ½ inch diced
24-30 baby Brussels sprouts (or 12-15 regular ones) trimmed, thinly sliced
Real maple syrup, optional, but highly recommended

Start with a skillet at least 12 inches in diameter. If you don’t have one that large, then you’ll want to scale down the ingredients by at least one fourth. Add bacon to cold skillet and turn heat to medium. As the pan begins to warm up, lower the heat if necessary. You want to cook the bacon slowly so that it becomes crisp. If you cook it too quickly it can burn, leaving you with a pan of burnt-tasting bacon fat, which will alter the flavor of the final dish in a not-so-good way. Cooking time will vary depending on how thick your slices of bacon are. Remove cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and chop into large strips once cooled.

Increase heat to medium-high and add leeks, garlic, sage, and rosemary. Season with 2 pinches salt and 1 pinch pepper. Sauté for 8 minutes or until leeks are soft and beginning to caramelize. Add sweet potatoes, season with 2 pinches of salt and 1 pinch of pepper, and sauté another 10-12 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft, but still hold their shape. You don’t want to end up with mashed potatoes. Add Brussels sprouts, season with 2 pinches of salt and 1 pinch of pepper, and sauté another 8 minutes. Add chopped bacon back to the pan. Toss to combine, and serve hot with eggs cooked to your liking. 

Notes: 
1. If you’re really into the sweet-and-savory thing, Jon and I recommend drizzling a little bit of maple syrup over the hash. We tried it both ways, and we agreed that the bites with were far superior to those without. 

2. If you want to make this dish vegetarian or vegan, simply skip the bacon in the first step and begin by sautéing the vegetables in your choice of butter or oil. You’ll want at least 2-3 TB of fat in the pan so that you have enough to coat all of the vegetables as you add them in stages. 

3. Although I’m hocking this recipe as a breakfast side, I thought you should know that Jon and I also both agreed that this would make for a delicious accompaniment to any Thanksgiving meal. 

What’s your favorite breakfast to make on an unexpectedly cold day? 

Cheers! Alex

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