What I call hash browns, lots of people call home fries. And this is simply because that is what my mom called cubed raw potatoes fried with chopped onions in (for her) bacon fat. When she fried – and now when I fry – shredded potatoes mixed with shredded onions, she usually formed them into one big pancake in a cast iron skillet and called it a potato cake, not hash browns. Although they are usually associated with a diner breakfast, I often make my hash browns for dinner, particularly with steaks or chops. And, occasionally they do make it to the breakfast table but, when that happens they are usually leftover and added to a frittata. If you have bacon fat on hand, it adds wonderful flavor to the potatoes as does duck fat. But, taking care of health issues, I mostly use olive oil as my fat of choice. The following very simple recipe should serve 6 people.
2 to 3 tablespoons fat of choice
6 large russet or other all-purpose potatoes, well-washed, peeled, and cut into small cubes
1 large onion, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle of paprika, optional
Heat the fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When very hot, but not smoking, add the potatoes and onions. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika and fry, tossing and turning frequently, for about 25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown with a few charred edges. You can, if you want to speed things along, cover the potatoes for about 10 minutes, but they do tend to sweat rather than crisp. However, once uncovered, you can raise the heat and toss and turn until they crisp up.