Thursday 21 October 2021

Stretching Leftovers: Roasted Veggie And Chicken Hash

My husband worked on a Fisheries ship for most of our marriage, right up to his retirement. The ship's patrol area stretched along the BC coast from the Washington border in the south to Alaska in the north, and all the way out to the 200 mile limit. There were two crews on the ship. Each worked three weeks aboard and then spent three weeks ashore.

The crews were small and tight knit. Their work, which involved both enforcement and search and rescue, was often dangerous and their lives depended upon them working well as a team. It became a bond as strong as family.

The first Sunday morning after my fella and I moved in together, I awoke to find most of his crewmates sitting in the kitchen and living room. They'd climbed in through the spare bedroom window and as soon as I appeared they chorused "What's for breakfast, Mom?"

I knew full well that the boys were being protective of my guy. They were testing me to see that I'd be good to him, and assessing how well I'd fit into the group. I made coffee - lots of it - and then looked in the fridge and cupboards to come up with something to serve for breakfast. We had a couple dozen eggs, some leftover roast pork, potatoes, and leftover cooked veggies. I made hash from the pork, potatoes, and veggies, and paired it with scrambled eggs to make breakfast for all fourteen of us. It felt a little bit like the story of loaves and fishes. lol!

The hash was a big hit and the breakfast gathering proved so popular that the crew continued to come for breakfast every Sunday they were ashore, right up until the time we purchased our first home and moved to a different town. Even after we moved, "Hashed Everything" continued to be a menu staple at our house. It's an incredibly versatile dish and it makes excellent refrigerator Velcro, using up whatever small bits of leftovers I happen to have on hand.

This is the version I made last week: 

  • 1 Tbsp oil, 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups diced crimini mushrooms
  • garlic powder and poultry seasoning to taste
  • 2 cups diced roasted vegetables (I had roasted potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, and green beans)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or a combination of butter and chicken fat (I saved the fat I removed from the top of the cooled pan juices leftover from roasting the chicken. Lots of good flavour there.
  • 1/2 of a large roasted chicken breast, diced (A friend gave me a huge roasting chicken - more than 5 pounds - and the chicken breast I used was from that bird. If you're using leftovers from an average fryer - about 3 pounds - you might want to use a whole chicken breast.)

 Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan, on medium-high heat, until the butter is melted.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and season them to taste with garlic powder and poultry seasoning. Saute them until they're deeply browned. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set them aside.

Melt the remaining 2 Tbsp butter (or combined butter and chicken fat) in the pan and add in the diced roasted vegetables.  Cook the veggies until they're heated through and nicely browned.

Add the diced chicken breast to the pan together with the cooked mushrooms.

Cook, stirring now and then, until the chicken takes on a bit of colour, then season the dish to taste. 

Serve piping hot.

This makes enough for two generous servings. 

I sometimes use hash as a base for baked eggs.  To do that, I preheat my oven to 350F. I spread the hash into an even layer across the entire pan. If the hash is cold, I put the pan in the oven until it's reheated. I use the back of a ladle to press down on the surface of the hot hash and make "nests" for the eggs. I crack an egg into each nest, season the eggs with salt and pepper, then put a lid on the pan. I put the pan in the oven until the eggs are cooked.


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