Perfect Hash Brown Potatoes in 10 minutes or less?
Yup! With the magic of the microwave oven, you can make foolproof, perfect Hash Brown Potatoes in ten minutes or less!
If you’re like most people, you use the microwave 90% of the time to reheat leftovers: Pizza, Mac & Cheese or to reheat your lukewarm coffee. You might occasionally go wild and actually use it to cook some frozen peas or even an ear of fresh corn…
In short, we don’t tend to think of the microwave as a true oven but as a handy gizmo to reheat food, right?
But the true magic of the microwave oven is that it can par-cook food to save a lot of time, hassle and cleanup...
The Microwave Oven can “help” make spectacular Hash Brown Potatoes! Don’t believe it? We have photos!
Before we go any further, and this is not a product endorsement but if you don’t use “Simply Potatoes®” Hash Brown potatoes, you need to start, right now! As the name says, it’s “simply potatoes”. The product is fresh, shredded Russet Potatoes that have been rinsed to get rid of pesky starches and they are also mostly dry. They are actually very moist in the package but there is very little “excess” moisture. Excess moisture means spattering of oil, which not only makes a mess, it smarts!
The tricky part of cooking raw hash browns is getting the temperature right. If the heat is too high, the surface of the hash browns will overcook or burn before they are fully cooked internally. If the heat is too low, the potatoes don’t brown, they get very oily and cooking takes forever!
This technique eliminates the guesswork because we par-cook the hash browns before they touch the grill using the magic microwave!
Let’s being with portions: We have here two medium size plates with a serving size of uncooked Simply Potatoes® Shredded Hash Brown potatoes that would approximate the size you would get at a restaurant.
After portioning your potatoes on the plate, use a spatula or paper towels with your hands to flatten the portions so they look like the photo above. You will need to microwave the dishes separately but it makes no difference in end the result.
Cover the plate with another plate. It should look something like this.
Place one plate-potato-plate “sandwich” in the microwave
Microwave at full-power for three minutes (this par-cooks the potatoes)
Carefully remove the two-plate-potato assembly from the microwave with oven mitts! It will be hot!
Repeat with the second serving
After a few minutes, remove the top plate to allow any accumulated moisture to evaporate
The servings will have shrunken slightly. They should still be very warm and you will notice the shreds are more stuck together than prior to microwaving. Microwaving has denatured the potatoes to bring some sugars, in the form of starches to the surface, which is what makes for easier browning. Set the dishes aside and fire up a pan or ideally, a griddle.
We’re using a non-stick, (which preferable in this scenario), griddle. Preheat the griddle to medium-heat. To test for the ideal temperature, splash some water droplets on the pan or griddle:
If they bubble and slide around the pan-griddle, it’s not hot enough
If they instantly evaporate, the pan-griddle is too hot
If they jump around on the pan-griddle, the temperature is just right. “Sauté” in French means “jump”
Spray the griddle with a cooking spray like PAM®
Using a spatula, slide it under the still very warm, par-cooked serving of Hash Browns as shown
Slide it onto the griddle as shown
Here’s a tip from the pros: Spraying the pan-griddle is just to keep the serving of potatoes from sticking but there’s not enough oil from the spray alone to get good browning on the potatoes, so instead of flooding the pan with oil, take a bottle of vegetable oil and slowly drizzle just a tablespoon or so over each serving. The mesh of potatoes will cause the oil to “wick” down to the pan-griddle surface and you’ll get good browning but without too much oil. Now, do not move them. Let them fry for at least three minutes.
Here the big reveal: Slip the spatula under each serving of hash browns and flip. It should largely stay together. You’ll notice that the time left alone to fry has caused the mesh of potatoes to congeal somewhat and flipping it over is easy as shown. They should be perfectly GBD (Golden Brown & Delicious!)
After flipping, fry this side for another three-four minutes and they should be perfect. Remember, because the process of par-cooking in the microwave not only saved time by pre-cooking but also eliminated the guesswork of wondering whether the potatoes are fully cooked inside.
All you have to do is wait for the outside to turn GBD... This method also eliminates the chance of the servings getting overloaded with oil from long cooking times.
Plate your hash browns with the rest of your breakfast! The Microwave Oven is truly a miracle machine for certain foods and now you can whip up fool-proof Hash Brown Potatoes!
(breakfast shown is from the Scotts Valley Market Kitchen!)