Pytt i Panna (Meat Hash)

>I have a couple of cookbooks that I use on a pretty regular basis. One is the Foods of France which I bought for $3 at Borders and which offers AWESOME recipes and pictures of all the best French dishes. I use this a lot in winter. Another one of my favorites is Mark Bittman’s “The Best Recipes in the World.” This is NOT the infamous yellow tome “How to Cook Everything” which I owned for a while but sold because I didn’t like it and never used it. This book is still really large but I adore the arrangement of the recipes. They’re arranged by food type but each dish indicates what part of the world and the index of recipes in the back is arranged by region, so you can quickly look up Indian, Scandinavian or Chinese dishes. I really love this because I’ve learned some great international dishes. . .this book held my hand on my first adventures with curry.

Pytt i Panna is a Swedish meat hash dish that’s designed to be made with leftover meat and potatoes but I really enjoy messing with recipes and making them my own, so instead of using beef, I generally use chicken and I never have boiled potatoes just laying around (I rarely boil a potato). The original recipe also calls for a raw egg cracked on top of each dish which, I’m sorry, sounds gross to me. I will eat sushi and cake batter and cookie dough but the idea of cracking an egg right on top of my well-cooked dinner weirds me out. I also add an onion because I like onions.

Chicken hash is pretty quick the way I make it. Toss two chicken breasts in your pan and cook on medium. Meanwhile, scrub up about one pound of baby red potatoes (about 10 potatoes). Dice potatoes and microwave them for 20 minutes. By the time the potatoes are done, the chicken should be cooked through. Take the chicken out, and add a whole chopped red onion along with half a cup of water and half a stick of butter. Saute until the onions are just tender. Add the potatoes and flip them around until they’re browned. Once the potatoes are browned (approximately 5 minutes) add the chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper. Once everything is browned and crispy on the edges, you’re done. If you want, you can scramble an egg in the pan or do the authentic thing with the raw egg. Tonight we skipped the egg because I was feeling lazy. This dish is Swedish so there’s not exactly a lot of spice (or any) involved. We usually add some Frank’s Red Hot and then top it off with Greek yogurt. This is a pretty heavy dinner so it’s better for winter or post-workout than a light dinner.

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