Root Vegetable Hash with Poached Eggs

My first root vegetable hash experiment. Success! [Sinking Spring, PA in December 2012]. By Fitz.

My first root vegetable hash experiment. Success! [Sinking Spring, PA in December 2012]. By Fitz.

Have you ever cooked a beet?

Have you ever poached an egg?

Here is an incredibly delicious recipe that will make your tummy happy — and, perhaps, teach you a new trick or two in the kitchen!

Beets: These are an awesome root vegetable. You probably had them out of a can as a kid and didn’t like them. Fair enough. However, the modern day beet is an essential: colorful, healthy, tasty, and unusual.  They come dressed in red (standard) and yellow (a bit sweeter/more tender). You can boil, steam, or roast them… and it will take a lot of time. But they are worth it!

Poached eggs: These little guys tie this dish together – raw eggs submerged in subtly boiling water just long enough to set the whites but not the yellows. Poached eggs are nerve-racking the first go-around but, once you get the technique, you’ll love finding new ways to incorporate them into meals.

Root Vegetable Hash with Poached Eggs

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s Eat Well in Fitz’ mom’s kitchen.

The following ingredients can shift wildly in proportion depending on a few factors:

– Are you serving this for breakfast or dinner? I think it can go both ways but I’ve only ever made it for dinner. Thus I make it as a hearty, generous dish.

– Are you serving other foods with this? If so, you might pair your potato choices accordingly… sweet potatoes alongside a pork dish or russet potatoes alongside a steak etc. Think about your sweet and savory options. It will all taste good but, undoubtedly, something will sound tastier once you start chopping.

I have found the following combinations quite delightful:

red beets + sweet potatoes + Yukon gold potatoes

yellow beets + red potatoes

But feel free to mix and match — and add in your favorite kind of potato. If you’re like me and thinking about potato options fries your brains… check out this link.

Ingredients:

Serves 4.

3-5 small red or yellow beets

1 medium yellow onion

6-8 potatoes (sweet, Yukon gold, and red are great options)

2-3 stalks celery, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

5 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2-3 stalks celery

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

4 eggs, poached

Poaching my first eggs! Look at the joy it can bring! [Sinking Spring, PA in December 2012]. By Fitz.

Poaching my first eggs! Look at the joy it can bring! [Sinking Spring, PA in December 2012]. By Fitz.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

* I don’t peel my beets or my potatoes, preferring to leave the skins on (for taste and ease!).

Dice beets and potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Chop the onion and the celery. Mince the garlic.

* Note on roasting pans: You can use a cookie sheet if needed but a roasting pan works much better, especially if you are making a big batch. If you use a deep roasting pan make sure to rotate the vegetables throughout the roasting.

After making this several times, I have noticed that each vegetable has a distinct roasting time and they are not exactly the same. Thus the following staggered start times…

1. Put the beets in a large roasting pan. Toss lightly in olive oil. Put in oven.

2. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove the pan and add potatoes, garlic, onion. Toss lightly in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put in oven.

3. Roast for 15 more minutes. Then remove the pan and add celery. Put in oven.

4. Roast an additional 30 minutes (60 minutes total for beets, 45 for potatoes/onion, 30 minutes for celery). Got it?

Remove from oven and toss vegetables with fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley. * I’ve tried the curly parsley too and, while I usually like this variety better, flat-leaf is definitely the way to go in this dish.

* Note on celery: If this sounds weird to you, don’t add it. Williams Sonoma doesn’t include this but I really enjoy a bit of cooked green and found this to be quite complimentary to the beets and potatoes. I am thinking adding steamed kale to the final dish could be an intriguing route for a future version but definitely adds a step beyond roasting… Let me know if you try this!

During the last 15 minutes of the roasting you get to poach your eggs! Yay! Here is how we’ll do this: bring a large pot of water to an “almost boil” over high heat. I look for the first columns of boiling water to form vertically in the middle of the pot. You can even wait until the first bubbles burst on the surface. But don’t wait for a rolling boiling – that’s too hot. Once the first bubbles start, turn the heat down to medium-low (a more controllable temperature). Crack the eggs, one at a time, into a small cup with a handle (a measuring cup works well). Gently (!) slide the egg into the simmering water. Repeat for additional eggs. Cook until the eggs are softly set, about 3 minutes.

* If you don’t like runny eggs, cook for longer – perhaps 5 minutes.

* If your eggs settle along the bottom of the pot upon submersion, you want your water a tiny bit hotter. Turn the heat up accordingly. To rescue your sinking egg: wait 30-60 seconds and then gently scoop the egg off the bottom of the pot with a large serving spoon and re-nestle in the hotter water.

Once the eggs are poached, scoop them out of the water and set on a paper towel to air dry. (You don’t want poaching water all over your nicely roasted veggies!)

Divide the vegetable hash among 4 plates and top each portion with a poached egg. Break open your poached egg and watch the yellow joy spread amongst your new-found love of beets. Mmmm!

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