Sweet Potato Hash With Bacon and Melted Onions

Thomas Keller

Here is another sweet potato hash recipe.  This one is adapted from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller (Artisan, 2009).  Thomas Keller is an American chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer. He and his landmark Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry in Yountville, California, have won multiple awards from the James Beard Foundation, notably the Best California Chef in 1996, and the Best Chef in America in 1997. The restaurant is a perennial winner in the annual Restaurant Magazine list of the Top 50 Restaurants of the World.

In 2005, he was awarded the three star rating in the inaugural Michelin Guide for New York for his restaurant Per Se, and in 2006, he was awarded three stars in the inaugural Michelin Guide to the Bay Area for The French Laundry. He is the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous three star Michelin ratings for two different restaurants.

Sweet Potato Hash With Bacon and Melted Onions

Serves 6-8

8 cups sliced onions (3 large ones)
Kosher salt
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme
10 black peppercorns
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1 stick unsalted butter, in 8 pieces
12 oz best-quality bacon, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
3 lb sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked (boiled, roasted or micro-waved) and diced
1 Tbs minced chives
Poached or sunny-side-up eggs, for serving (optional).

Put onions in a large skillet, place over medium-low heat, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, uncovered, reducing the heat to maintain a low simmer, about 20 minutes, until onions are soft and swimming in liquid.

Tie the bay leaf, 3 sprigs thyme, peppercorns and garlic in a piece of cheesecloth. Add to onions along with butter, stir and cover (not too tightly, some steam should be allowed to escape). Cook slowly 30 to 35 minutes, until onions are meltingly tender and coated in butter. The mixture should look creamy at all times: if butter separates or if pan looks dry, stir in cold water 1 teaspoon at a time.

Season to taste with salt. (Onions can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.)

Cut bacon crosswise into thick matchsticks. Pour 2 tablespoons water into a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Add bacon, reduce heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes. Bacon will render its fat and become golden, but not completely crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Pour off excess fat from pan, leaving a thick film on bottom to cook hash; reserve the extra fat.

Heat oven to 200 degrees. Spread half of potatoes in pan, sprinkle with salt and add half the leaves of the remaining sprig of thyme. Cook undisturbed, over medium-low heat, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup melted onions and a quarter of the bacon and gently fold together until heated through. Transfer to an ovenproof serving bowl and keep warm. Repeat with remaining potatoes, a quarter of the bacon, another 1/2 cup onions (refrigerate leftover onions; they make a great sauce for fish) and remaining thyme leaves. Sprinkle hash with chives (if using) and remaining bacon. Serve hot, topped with eggs if desired.

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