purple sweet potato + corned beef hash

Its no secret that I am a girl who loves projects. I have a list a mile or so long full of things to do that – surprise! – have little to do with cooking, baking, and eating (and nibbling on leftovers before they are actually left over…the term is a technicality, anyway). The big projects – finishing a bathroom reno and remodel, and building a small deck on the back of our little house – will come with time and as our sometimes limited sanity allows. The little, scaled-down projects, like: get rid of my magazine hoard (… begrudgingly, because as my dear friend Betty pointed out, “If you wait long enough, they are brand new again!”) and ordering prints of our wedding (happy almost first anniversary, Mister Husband!) are also bouncing around like tiny, aimless asteroids in our universe, knocking into my brain every once in a while.

I DO actually have a list of food projects that I’d like to tackle some day – here and there I like to throw in a little challenge, something a bit unfamiliar. For St. Patty’s day, I proclaimed to the universe – most defiantly, may I add – that “This Will Be The Year I Make Corned Beef From Scratch!”

Well, guess what? You take a big ol’ piece of meat and brine it. For four whole days. You stare at it in the refrigerator and by Day Four you’re wondering why the heck this bowl is so big and so in your way right now. And then you boil it. That’s basically it… really. True. Story.

bay leaf, juniper berries + coriander seeds

This entire “project” was underwhelming to say the least. Then again, if I had thought about it a little longer than the surge of motivation I had while at the market, I might have gone in another direction and crossed another project off the list instead of this. Fortunately, somewhere around the middle of day two – in between wondering why this bowl of raw meat stew was taking up our entire refrigerator and trying to remind myself not to forget about said raw meat stew… I remembered that the only real reason to ever make your own corned beef at home is so that you can have hash for brunch!! I mean corned beef hash is really the best part, isn’t it? It’s the entire point. (I mean, unless you have some rye, good mustard and a meat slicer…but even then…)

This little hash I threw together differs from the standard diner fare by subbing regular spuds for purple sweet potatoes roasted first with thyme, salt + pepper. The roasted purple sweet potatoes are pretty great on their own, and you could completely skip the corned beef for a vegetarian option, or use the potatoes as a side dish to accompany countless other things. Would it be overselling if I said you could totally just eat them on their own and that you could absolutely roast these the day before to cut hash time by a half an hour? Maybe. But probably not.

thyme-roasted purple sweet potatoes

Top the hash with a gorgeous, runny poached egg and remember that the cramped fridge and nightmares of submerged meat pieces spilling into your vegetable drawers were all worth it.

Recipe for Purple Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Eggs
Note: For the homemade corned beef, I used Michael Symon’s recipe for Nitrate-Free Corned Beef from his book, Carnivore. The recipe for the hash is loosely based on his recipe from the same book, mostly for measurements and proportions of ingredients.

Serves 3-4

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes
3 cups purple sweet potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces. About three small or two larger.
1 tsp fresh thyme, rough chopped
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbsp good, fruity olive oil
1 tsp each salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F. Toss the sweet potato pieces, olive oil, chopped thyme, salt + pepper in a large bowl until well coated.

Pour into a 9×13 roasting dish, with the thyme sprigs on top for about 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Check about halfway through and toss if needed. Sweet potatoes are done when a knife slides through easily.

1 tbsp olive oil, butter, or ghee
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
3 c roasted purple sweet potatoes from recipe above
small bunch kale, any kind, cut in 1 inch pieces
8-10 oz nitrate-free corned beef, shredded, homemade optional
2 tbsp fresh parsley
3-4 large, organic eggs, depending how many you’re feeding.
splash of white or cider vinegar

Fill a small sauce pot with a few cups of water and a splash of the vinegar. Heat over medium heat until the point of barely boiling. You want bubbles and movement, but not a rolling boil. Keep at this point but out of the way until the very end.

Heat oil, butter or ghee in a deep-sided skillet over medium heat.
If using the red pepper flakes, add to the oil or butter and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add onions. Cook until slightly clear – about 5 minutes.
Season lightly with bit of salt and black pepper. Go light on the salt, since the meat will add some at the end.
Toss in the minced garlic and cook for a minute or so more, until fragrant.
Next, toss in the roasted sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly with the onions and garlic. Cook for about five minutes and then toss in the kale.
Cook the whole mess until the kale is tender but still has a bite left. Don’t let it mush!
Throw in the beef, mix well, turn to medium low and cover until the meat is warmed through.

Poach the eggs:
Note: This is my most favorite, and foolproof method to poach eggs. Don’t overcrowd the pot, give the eggs room to breathe. You may need to do this in two batches. Cook a little longer for firmer yolks, although breaking the egg and swirling the yolk around the hash underneath is basically the best thing ever.

Carefully crack an egg into a small bowl. Repeat.
Gently lower the egg into the barely boiling water & vinegar one at a time.
Poach for four minutes.
Rescue your eggs with a slotted spoon and add let rest on a clean kitchen towel until ready to plate.

Top your hash with an egg and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Gently break the egg, grab some coffee, and the newspaper and enjoy!