Red flannel hash was an invention of the first New England colonists, but it certainly has roots in Old World cookery. It's essentially corned beef hash, minus the corned beef and plus a few beets. If you're looking for something a little different to serve up this St. Patrick's Day, look no further!
The quantity of ingredients in this dish aren't terribly important. If you love onions, add another one in. An extra potato or one less beet also won't make a difference. And while this version is vegetarian, you can certainly add in a little leftover corned beef or some crumbled sausage for a little meatiness. Use what you have in your pantry or what you like on your plate, and you can't go wrong.
The cooking time is also variable. You can serve it as soon as the cabbage is wilted, or you can turn the heat down to low and let everything hang out for a while. The longer you cook, the more the potatoes, beets, and cabbage will mash together, which I personally love! The eggs are the only thing that require strict cooking time, of course. Just crack those in and let them poach just before you're ready to serve.
Keep in mind that this is meant to be a rustic, hearty breakfast. Nothing fancy here! The flavors are simple and the portions are meant to carry you through the day.
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3-4 red potatoes, diced small (I like them with the skins, but you can peel them if you like!)
3 beets, peeled and diced small
1/2 head cabbage, core removed and thinly sliced
4-6 large eggs
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook until the onions become soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, herbs, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Stir until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the potatoes, beets, and another 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir everything together, cover the pan, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the beets are tender. Don't worry if the potatoes start to fall apart a little - they are meant to! As you stir, be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan every so often to work in the browned bits from the pan.
When the beets are tender, stir in the cabbage. Cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the cabbage is wilted. Give the mash a taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.
At this point, you can serve the mash right away or you can turn down the heat and let it simmer for as long as a half an hour. You can also take the mash off the heat completely and re-heat it when you're ready to serve.
Five minutes before you're ready to serve, crack the eggs around the circumference of the pan. Cover the pan and let the eggs poach for 5 minutes for runny yolks or 7 minutes for firm yolks. Scoop onto plates and serve.
(Images: Emma Christensen)