Hash with Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms, Kale, and Miso

A lot of my dinners are ones that could double as breakfast. That’s probably just a fact of the vegetarian experience, at least for those of us who eat eggs. But to think I’ve been complaining about potatoes so much lately. I’ve been forced to make amends because my CSA has delivered 2 pounds of potatoes every week since Hurricane Irene (sadly, they got hit pretty badly, so we’re lucky to get anything at all). Sweet potatoes, of course, aren’t all that closely related to the potatoes we’re most familiar with—I think of them as a lot more like winter squash than Russets—but as I’m calling this recipe a “hash,” there’s little way around the newfound potato- and breakfast love in these parts.

I like dishes like this a lot, one-dish meals where the principle is just to throw things into the skillet in sequential order of how long they’ll take to cook, and then cross your fingers that everything finishes at the same time. The dishes for which it works best are those that have forgiving ingredients, and in this case there’s some give with the mushrooms and the kale. I was happily relieved, while I came up with the cooking times below, to find that the sweet potatoes never even came close to turning to mush. In fact in each test they were cooked perfectly, so sweet potatoes may be more forgiving than I thought.

I realize that a hash is traditionally a southern meat thing, or made from corned beef, so I hope you’ll forgive my bending of the term. It started with my visualizing sweet potato and mushrooms on my palate, imagining the earthiness and sweetness to be a perfect pair, and then thinking that miso would provide an ideal bridge. I was gratified to learn that it does, and that miso also contributes a slightly boozy aroma when it hits the pan—for a second I thought I was smelling sake.

In my first round I used a medley of potatoes—a sweet one, a red bliss, and a white-fleshed New York potato—but the contrasting textures, the collision of starches, just didn’t work. Ginger, garlic, and jalapeno give an assertive flavor profile, so if you prefer something more neutral, scale back on those ingredients. And lastly, as you can see from the photos, this dish could have gone either way, as a sweet potato hash or a kale hash. I took the middle road, but, again, there are endless ways to adapt this, so tweak to your liking.

Hash with Sweet Potatoes, Mushrooms, Kale, and Miso
Serves 2

1 tablespoons neutral oil
1/2 onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thick wedges
1 medium, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 pound mushrooms (cremini, white button, shitake, or a medley), halved or quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1/2 jalapeno, diced, seeded if desired
1 tablespoons miso paste (GF if necessary)
2 tablespoons hottest tap water
5 or 6 full-sized kale leaves, stemmed and cut into thin strips (about 1-1/2 cups)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
A poached egg per serving, optional (see below)

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until just limp, stirring only periodically so that they take on some color, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the potatoes, tossing to combine, and then let cook for 3 to 5 minutes without stirring too often, so that they develop some color. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes or so. As they release their liquid, there should be a lot of sizzling action.

2. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the miso and the hot tap water until dissolved. Add the garlic, ginger, and jalapeno to the pan, stirring until it’s fragrant, then pour the miso into the skillet. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the potatoes are mostly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the kale—don’t bother stirring it in, just pile it on top of the potatoes—cover again, and cook until collapsed, another 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover, stir the kale into the potatoes, and leave covered, over low heat, while you poach the eggs if you’re using them.

3. Stir in the parley and black pepper, then divide the mixture over two plates. Top each plate with a poached egg if desired, and eat while it’s hot. You may want to add a sprinkling of salt as well, depending on the strength of your miso.

How to perfectly poach an egg: First, do not get one of those little pan inserts, where you crack an egg into one of four little hollows and then set the contraption over simmering water. I can’t for my life figure out the point of those. Instead, bring a small saucepan full of water to boil—you want between 3 and 4 inches of water. Once it’s boiling, pour in 1 tablespoon of mild vinegar (I use white vinegar, but you can use anything you please). Reduce the heat so that you have a very active simmer. For me, this is a medium flame. If the water is too still, the egg will just float to the bottom and flatten out unattractively. Crack the egg into a small bowl, then gently ease the egg into the water. You can cook two at a time, but I wouldn’t do more than that. For a slightly gelled but mostly runny yolk, cook for exactly 2 minutes and 45 seconds. This yields perfection every time for me, but if you prefer a firmer or runnier yolk, adjust the time. And to check the doneness, simply pull the egg out of the water with a slotted spoon and press gently on the yolk with your finger.


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