I was pretty excited to get my hands on Kirsten and Mandy Dixon’s latest collection of Alaska recipes, “The Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook.” It has all kinds of surprising and cool Alaska food recipes I want to try, including salmon bacon with rhubarb lacquer, hot smoked salmon croque madame and bullwhip kelp sweet pickles (!). I was recently in need of a brunch recipe, so I decided to go with the Dixons’ red flannel hash. Aside from a small egg-poaching snafu (a reading comprehension problem on my part), it did not disappoint.
Here’s my step-by-step:
First thing: You put your beets in a 350-degree oven, whole, unpeeled, wrapped in foil. This is a great way to handle beets because you don’t have to peel them later. (It may or may not help if your oven is dirty like mine… 😉 )
The recipe called for two beets, but I had four small ones so I used them. While the beets are going, you get your chop on. Here we have sweet potatoes, white potatoes and red onions.
Then you work a light saute. You cook everything for only a few minutes, adding in the salt and pepper and the paprika.
Smoked paprika is one of my favorite spices. You can find it locally at New Sagaya and, likely, at Summit Spice & Tea.
Then you put the whole pan in the oven, covered in foil.
After the hash roasts for about 15 minutes and everything is soft, pull it out and set aside. Keep cooking the beets another 20 minutes. Pull them out, let them cool slightly, then rub off the skins. Dice them and add them. Here are my beets, post oven:
Now add greens. I used dandelion greens and the beet greens because the store was out of swiss chard, which the recipe calls for.
Now comes the egg poaching part. The Dixons recommend a method that involves making little poaching pouches. You crack the egg into some Saran. MAKE SURE TO GREASE IT.
The only problem I had is that I forgot to GREASE THE INSIDE OF THE SARAN. And it was a mess of stuck egg. I ended up starting over, going old school and poaching the eggs by cracking them right into the boiling water and removing them with a slotted spoon. You will surely not make the mistake I did.
Once the eggs are poached, you just settle them on your hash, and voila: brunch!
Tutka Bay Lodge Red Flannel Hash
2 medium red beets (I used 4 small)
3 tbsp canola oil
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 medium red potatoes, cut into a 1/4-inch dice
1 red onion
1 clove garlic, quartered and minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch of smoked paprika
1 small bunch swiss chard, chopped (I used beet and dandelion greens)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 tbsp minced chives
Preheat oven to 350º
Wrap each beet in aluminum foil (I wrapped them together in a packet). Set them into middle rack. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until soft.
In the meantime, heat oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet. Add in sweet potato, red potatoes, onion and garlic. Season mixture with salt, pepper and paprika. Cook the vegetables for 5 to 7 minutes and then cover the skillet with foil and place it in the oven next to the beets.
Bake all that for 30 to 35 minutes, remove the pan, and keep on cooking the beets for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until they are soft and cooked through. Remove them from the oven and take them out of the foil.
After they’ve cooled, rub off the skins with a paper towel. (I did this under cool running water.) Dice the beets, add to the potato mixture. Add greens, bay leaf and thyme.
Heat the stove for 5 minutes to brown and crisp the potatoes. Sprinkle with chives. (I used green onions, because I forgot to buy chives, and also sprinkled with paprika, because I love paprika.) Serve with poached eggs and toast.
Tutka Bay egg-poaching method: Bring 4 inches of water to boil in a wide saucepan, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Take some plastic wrap and cut in to pieces, each about the size of the inside of a tea cup. OIL THE INSIDE of the plastic wrap and set, oiled side up, inside four teacups. Crack one egg into each of the cups. Gather the plastic wrap, twist top tightly to remove any air from the egg “packets.” Tie each packet with string. Fill a medium bowl with cold water and set aside. Drop each packet into the simmering water. Poach, trying to keep the packets submerged, for about 5 minutes. Remove. Cut tie with scissors and remove eggs. Drop them into a bowl of cold water to hold while assembling hash plates.
My far less beautiful poaching method: Put about 3 inches of water in a frying pan, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Crack eggs directly into the water and poach until they reach desired hardness. Remove with slotted spoon.