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Aug 26, 2007 06:34 AM

Hash Browns

I cannot seem to get my hash browns to come out right. DH likes them from Perkins - semi-crisp, grated potatoes that are not really sticky. Anyone have any ideas or techniques? Mine always seem to come out like wallpaper paste.

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  1. I have had that problem before, you might want check and see that they are not to thick.and also the temprature of your heat. you might need to cook them alittle bit

    2 Replies
    1. re: bigjimbray

      Use a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet. Bacon drippings work best for flavor, browning, and cripness. Use medium-heat on stovetop burner. Then you need patience....give each side enough time to brown, at least 5 minutes each. Peek, if you must, to check. The browning and crisping takes place when the moisture has evaporated. I have see instructions for rinsing the potato shreds before shaping, but I find using the shredded potato with all of it's starchiness is better.

      "bigjim" is right...don't make them too thick.

      1. re: bigjimbray

        Cooks Illustrated says drying is key. They even wring the grated potatoes in a tea towel.
        Chef's method sounds spot on.
        Bah! Meant to reply to OP.

      2. I think they need to be dried between clean towels. I shred with a hand held shredder, do a quick soak in lemon water, to help prevent discoloration.Let them drain, and then I try to dry them really well with clean towels.

        Then I make an even layer on the flat side of the cast iron griddle, olied and buttered, making the layer that is not to thick. To the potaties I add butter, dotting the top, the onion goes in a few minutes after starting the potatoes, press them in, or you will get blackened onion if you add them too soon and the heat too hot, so I time that. Garlic salt. I Garlic powder can burn and gives a bitter taste. Generous amount of Sea Salt or Kosher, and Ground Pepper.
        Let them cook I've not timed it but when I think they are ready, I lift gently to see if they have reached a nice gold color, then using a large spatula, I flip (if you time it right you get a better flip). I usually am not not successful in getting the whole thing, then I dot a dab more butter on the fresh side, and repeat. I flip one more time. I use a med hi heat and adjust so not to burn the onions.
        I like mine so that the potatoes are soft in the center and gold crispy on the outside. They don't always turn out perfect, but pretty much.
        You can add red pepper flakes, bell pepper and top with cheese and scallions or use fresh garlic (it can burn though).
        Or be a purist, leave them alone and enjoy them with a bottle of Tabasco at your ready that's my way.

        Read my profile, I love potatoes, and I take them very seriously darn it.

        5 Replies
        1. re: chef chicklet

          A really good post, "Chef".....think that this is one of those recipe techniques that you have to develop yourself ! I also use powdered garlic and powdered onion in the mix. Have even tried shredding the onion on a box grater. Some potato varieties oxidize quicker than others, too.

          For a quick lunch, or snack; after flipping over once I (give it a few moments, or so, to start the browning of the second side) make a small divot in the already browned surface and drop a raw egg into the indentation. Add a tablespoon, or so, of water to steam egg. Quickly cover pan and wait for all steam to evaporate and finish browning the second side. Peek to see if egg has been steamed to your liking. Remove lid to finishing crisping/browning second side. Egg yolk should still be runny.

          1. re: Lisbet

            OH Lisbet that is an excellect idea! That's multi-tasking at its finest!

          2. re: chef chicklet

            My pupils are now dilated reading this recipe....Chef, do you use russets? Which kind of potato is best? Must......make.....hashbrowns.

            1. re: Val

              Just regular Idaho russets. peel and grate. I am sort of weird I don't dry the potatoes with paper, I use tea, or linen towels (white) I feel bad using paper towels... anyway, I dry them well after a lemon bath (no lemon I use lime).
              I think the key is using a fine grater, and drying and rinsing them. Then frying is the easy part. Leave them be let then crust up, there is moisture still in there and the insides will be creamy. Butter, oil salt pepper, garlic whatever, the outside will be just perfect, just let them get the crust first or you will have a mish-mash of potatoes.

              you guys I just plugged in my deep fryer. PLEASE someone stop me.

          3. Sounds like you might be shredding raw potatoes, in which case you have a different definition of "hash browns" than we folks on the West Coast do.

            Here, hash browns are almost synonymous with Swiss rosti. You start with all-purpose potatoes (NOT mealy baking spuds), boil them until about 3/4 done, then let them set overnight to firm up. Come morning, you peel them, shred them, and fry them to a brown crisp on one side, turn them over and do it again. For frying, use bacon fat saved up just for the purpose, but any frying fat or oil will do. Eat immediately.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Sharuf

              That sounds more like what I would call "home fries," Sharuf.

              1. re: vanillagrrl

                Sounds like there are some geographical semantic differences. I have never been served anything called "hash browns" made from shredded raw potatoes.

                Around here, order breakfast with "home fries" or "cottage fries" and you will get diced or chunked spuds, often with their skins on, and frequently jazzed up with onions and maybe other stuff. Order "hash browns" and you get plain shredded pre-cooked potatoes browned to a nice crispness. Go to Denny's or IHOP and you'll see what I mean.

                Shredded raw potatoes are used for potato pancakes (which I dearly love) but their texture is quite different from frying pre-cooked spuds.

                1. re: Sharuf

                  I use mash potatoes for potato pancakes. I'm from CA I shred my raw potatoes and call them hash browns, never have I thought to even use a cooked potato. But I'm cooking the way my NY Mom and Midwest Dad taught me, so this is all I know.

                  If I ever get "Country or Cottage Fries" and I'm expecting what I call "hash browns" I am so hugely disappointed! I'm suspect that they were last nights baked potatoes that didn't sell.

                  However if the way you make them is to partially cook the potato, I could try that and see how it works.

            2. Try the "institutional dried hash browns". I went camping in Alaska a few weeks ago, one of the guys brought a half case of these, he got them from a local (to him) restaurant. I was skeptical, but they tasted like the hash browns many coffee shops in the area serve including my old breakfast place. I didn't cook breakfast and I don't know how they are prepared, but they tasted great and were light weight (Important when one has to fly everything in).

              Ask "Perkins" if they use dried and if they do, would they sell you some.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Alan408

                At the Napa airport restaurant, they used to sell a premade frozen hashed brown patty with cheese and scallion as a side dish. I loved it!

              2. This is how I have always made hash browns and everyone raves about them, and they are so simple. I peel potatoes (usually use russets) and then cut them fairly thin (but not paper thin) so you have oval potato slices. Warm up some real butter in a fry pan and add the potatoes. Chop up an onion add this to the potatoes that are frying. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until potatoes and onion are browned to the degree you like. When I dish them out, I add a little more butter to the top that melts over the potatoes as they are served. Very easy and very delicious.

                4 Replies
                1. re: cheri

                  They do sound delicious, but why the heck do you call them "hash browns"? They sound more like scalloped potatoes.

                  1. re: Sharuf

                    No, these are hash browns (just potatoes, onion, butter, seasonings). When I make scalloped potatoes it is essentially the same ingredients, but with flour added as a thickener and then a layer of cream and/or milk or half n half is added and then they are baked. The hash browns above are fried. Potatoes don't have to be shredded to be considered hash browns.

                    1. re: Sharuf

                      Grate them if you wish - same end result really as far as taste.

                    2. re: cheri

                      I realize this thread is pretty old, but I noticed it and read it.

                      The potatoes cheri is describing are called 'raw fries' in my neck of the woods. Hashbrowns are always shredded unless they are purchased frozen. They are then sometimes cut into very small dice and when diced onions and green peppers are added they are called 'potatoes o'brien'.

                      The reason some people boil their potatoes before shredding them and making hashbrowns is to avoid the oxidizing. I ususally use either frozen shredded hashbrowns (rarely) or the dehydrated hash browns (occasionally).