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Sweet Potato and Ham Hash

Breakfast Brunch Salads 'n' Sides

Sweet Potato and Ham Hash

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Back in the early 1990’s, while at a closing in Washington, DC, the ‘closing dinner’ was held at Georgia Brown’s. Georgia Brown’s opened in 1993, and put Low Country and Southern cuisine on the radar for Washingtonians. Having heard of but never tasted, I ordered sweet potato hash as a side, not realizing that it also had ham in it. Well, favorite + favorite = gotta have again. Why it took me until now to make it, I’ll never know, but I’m glad I did.

My usual method with new recipes is to search around for several that go in the direction that my taste buds remember, then craft it to my personal taste. For that reason, the recipe I’ve posted is not as precise as some might like it to be, but it allows the cook to work with the basics and create something that becomes personal and tasty to their taste. Main thing is, it’s easy, and easy to adapt.

You’ll notice two versions; one is savory, and the other is sweet (though not cloyingly so). Either ‘plays well with others’, and makes a great side, or, if doctored to be hefty enough (more ham?), can even be a light main course. Think live oaks, Spanish moss, and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS (savory)

I part cubed sweet potato (I like 1/4″ dice, or less)
1 part cubed ham (same size as sweet potato)
Red and green bell peppers, diced
Onion (diced fresh, or dried)
Butter
Salt and pepper to taste

INGREDIENTS (sweet)

I part cubed sweet potato (I like 1/4″ dice, or less)
! part cubed ham (same size as sweet potato)
Pinch of salt
Brown sugar (light or dark, doesn’t matter)
Onion (diced fresh, or dried)
Butter

DIRECTIONS

Bring your skillet to medium heat, then add butter – enough to cover the bottom of the pan.
Add the sweet potato. Sauté until the sweet potato is starting to brown at the edges and corners of the cubes.
Add the ham. You may get some sputtering at this point; turn down the heat a fraction, or see if it settles down once the ham has lost its moisture.
Add the aromatics (peppers and onions, or just onion), salt, and pepper.
Continue sautéing until the aromatics have softened. If you’re going savory, you’re done. If you’re going sweet, add some brown sugar and continue until the sugar has dissolved and the ingredients are well coated with the butter/brown sugar mixture.
Serve from the skillet with a slotted spoon, or transfer to a bowl for later use the same way.

PAIRINGS

While customarily a side, I’ve seen the savory version used as a platform for shirred eggs. Make up a hefty batch, and when it’s almost done, put indentions in it, put an egg in each, then put the skillet in a 350 deg. oven until the eggs are set – a Southern take on a Middle Eastern favorite, shakshuka. Or divide the hash into individual serving dishes and put a poached egg on each.

The sweet version makes a great side or companion for breakfast and brunch dishes; it would even be good served atop of a slice of friend ham. I’ve paired it with Eggs Benedict with great success.

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