By Kerth T. Lundell
I am a hash brown potato aficionado. While living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I have also developed a taste for spicy foods that use New Mexico green chile. Over the years, I have worked on creating a dish that combines these two loves. I call it “Atomic Hash Browns” (full name: “Kerth’s Infamous Atomic Hash Browns”).
Each year, I travel to northern Minnesota to take a wilderness canoe trip with my nephew, Drew Brockett. Drew is an outfitter for Piragis Northwoods Company, Ely, Minnesota. Last year, while planning our trip, we decided to bring along ingredients that would allow us to cook up a few meals of Atomic Hash Browns in our campsites. Up until now, this recipe has been top secret. But, due to popular demand, the secret recipe for this amazing dish is about to be unleashed. Following is a list of ingredients needed (for two servings), along with the necessary cooking steps.
Ingredients: One box of dehydrated hash brown potatoes (Betty Crocker 5.2 ounce box or equivalent), one medium-sized onion, two packets of Spam Singles (Spam now makes these, “light” or “regular,” in individual foil packets), one 4-ounce can of diced green chile (Buy diced “green chile,” not jalapeno. Go for “hot” if you can find it. Put the green chile into a legal plastic container before the wilderness trip), salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes (like you shake onto pizza), and cooking oil.
Cooking Steps: 1: Dice the peeled onion and the Spam from the two foil packets. Saute these together in an oiled frypan. Once these are browned, set them aside in a separate bowl.
2: Pour the dehydrated potatoes into the frypan and add one cup of water. Heat the pan and allow the potatoes to soak up the liquid.
3: Now, drizzle some cooking oil over the potatoes and stir them so that they are lightly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Once the potatoes start to brown on the bottom (watch so they don’t burn), start flipping sections to let more browning occur.
4: At this point, mix in the onions and Spam you sauteed earlier, along with all the diced green chile. Also, layer in more heat by adding more black pepper and some red pepper flakes. The more red pepper flakes you add, the more zip you will get in the final dish.
5: Let the potatoes fry and occasionally flip sections over. When they start to brown and crisp up, they have become Atomic Hash Browns and are ready to serve. Plate the hash browns. Enjoy this delicious dish while listening to the loons and watching the sun set over a beautiful wilderness lake. Mmmmmmmmm. Life is good!
Atomic Hash Browns at Home: At home, I sometimes make this a hardy main dish by adding a few extra ingredients. While sautéing the onions and Spam, I add some diced bell pepper for extra color and taste. Toward the end of the cooking, right before the Atomic Hash Browns are ready, I sprinkle on grated cheddar cheese and allow this to melt down into the potatoes. Then, when the hash browns are finally plated, I sometimes top each serving with a fried egg. This dish has delighted many a house guest.