When you need to feed a crowd, why make batch after batch of individual hash browns when you can make one giant one?
I am yet to find a form of potatoes I don’t like. Mashed, fried, roasted, pureed, smashed, soup, salad, gnocchi, rosti, hasselbacks, gratin, stuffed, croquette, chips….the list goes on and on. And hash browns are right at the top of the list. I can’t think of a better way to start a day than with a salty, crispy, greasy, moist, freshly made hash brown. Plus, it’s the ultimate hangover cure.
I found a recipe for a skillet hash brown in Bon Appetit about a year ago and made it the very next day. So handy! One giant hash brown instead of slaving away on the stove making batch after batch. You can feed 4 to 6 people with this recipe. For me, this serves 4. I think normal people without portion control issues would probably feed 6 (in which case it’s less than 200 calories per serving).
I made a few adjustments to the recipe I found in Bon Appetit. Firstly, it calls for 1/2 cup of oil which I really think is excessive. Also it says to cook it for 10 to 15 minutes which, if you did, you would end up with black discs. So I’ve made these changes plus rewritten the directions for the way I make this recipe.
The key to a hash brown with a golden crunchy crust is to rinse the grated potato until the water runs clear. This removes the starch from the potato and helps make it crunchy. Also, it stops the potato from going brown.
This is a great recipe for feeding a crowd! You can make it about 1 hour in advance and it will reheat wonderfully, with a crunchy crust while still being moist on the inside. I’ve even made it the night before and it still reheats crunchy but I thought the inside was not quite as moist. It could be that I’m being too fussy because my friends certainly didn’t complain!
When the hash brown cools, the crust will become soft. The key to reheating it so it gets the crunchy crust again is to have the oven on fairly high at 200C/390F. If you have a pizza tray, the ones with holes in it, this will give you the best results with reheating because the bottom will get direct heat and crisp up even better than if you just use a normal baking tray.
My last piece of advice to make a perfect hash brown is to use the right potato. You need to use starchy potatoes for hash browns as they breakdown when cooked, becoming nice and fluffy on the inside and golden and crunchy on the outside. The best to use are Russet (common in the US), dutch creams, King Edwards or red delight. However, great all rounders like golden delight, coliban, red rascal and Sebago (popular in Australia) still works great.
I use Sebago which are the brushed potatoes you can get from any supermarket in Australia (ie. the ones with dirt on them). If you are based in the US, a great all rounder to use is Russet which I understand is one of the most widely used potatoes in the US.
Do not use waxy potatoes like red pontiac and desiree – when cooked, they hold their shape making them perfect for things like using in casseroles and potato salad, but are not suitable for things like hash browns.
Reach out if you have any questions, I’ll be sure to answer them! Love to hear if you try this!
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Giant Hash Brown
- 1 kg / 2 lb potatoes (starchy - see notes)
- 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
- Black pepper
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil , separated
- Peel and grate the potatoes, placing the grated potato into a large bowl of water (this stops the potato from going brown while you continue grating).
- Using a large colander, rinse the potato until the water comes clear (to remove the starch which keeps the potato from going brown as well as making it crispy).
- Working a handful at a time, squeeze out the excess water and place into the bowl.
- Mix in 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a 22cm/9 inch non stick pan over medium high heat.
- Place shredded potato mixture in pan, spread out and lightly pat down with a spatula. It should be about 1.5cm/0.6" thick.
- Cook for 5 to 8 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Use a spatula to lift a corner to check for doneness.
- Get a large plate and slide the hash brown onto it.
- Place the pan on top of the plate, then quickly flip upside down. Use a tea towel if you need so you can hold onto the fry pan when flipping. Don't worry if it breaks when you flip it, it's salvageable!
- Drizzle the remaining 1 tbsp of oil around the edges of the fry pan. If your hash brown broke when you flipped it, use a spatula to lightly pat it back into shape.
- Cook until golden brown and crispy, about 4 to 6 minutes. Use a spatula to lift up to check.
- Slide out of the plan onto a serving plate. Season with additional salt if required. To serve, garnish with chopped parsley (optional) and cut into wedges.
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