Sunday, January 19, 2014

Homemade Fast Food: Ground Beef Over Crispy Hash Browns (gluten-free : grain-free : nutrient-dense)

Over the last 6 weeks while we've been renovating, packing, and moving to our new home, I have had much less time to spend on preparing food for my family.  We have been relying more on real food convenience foods, making a few compromises, and eating some very simple homemade foods.  This recipe for Ground Beef Over Crispy Hash Browns is my family's version of fast-food.  With only a few ingredients and very quick preparation, this meal is on the table in about 20 minutes, start-to-finish.  My husband and both kids love this meal!

Ground Beef Over Crispy Hash Browns
Serves 4
  • one pound ground beef, preferably from grassfed, pastured cows
  • one 16-ounce package organic frozen hash browns (I buy Cascadian Farms brand, which contain only one ingredient: organic potatoes)
  • one stick (1/2 cup) butter, preferably from grassfed cows
  • celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped avocado, salsa, honey mustard
  • equipment needed: heavy bottomed skillet with a lid for the hash browns, and another skillet or saucepan for the beef
  1. Start by melting one stick of butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium low heat. (I use a 10-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe.) Once the butter is melted, swirl it around the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Then add the frozen hash browns and increase the heat to medium-high. Sprinkle generously with fine-ground celtic sea salt. Put a lid on the skillet and let the hash browns cook undisturbed for about 10 minutes. (The lid for my stockpot happens to fit perfectly on my cast iron skillet.) To make the hash browns nicely crispy, make sure you do NOT stir them much.
  2. In the meantime, cook the ground beef in another skillet (or saucepan, if necessary). Crumble the ground beef into the skillet and cook over medium heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper to taste. I like to use about 1 tsp of the chunky grey celtic sea salt for one pound of ground beef. You could definitely add a spice or two (such as a sprinkle of oregano, thyme, or cumin) if you'd like. Stir occasionally to make sure the meat gets browned on all sides.
  3. Once the hash browns have cooked with the lid on for 10 minutes, remove the lid and flip/stir them. I find that a bamboo spatula works particularly well to scrape the hash browns from the bottom of the skillet so that the crispy goodness doesn't get stuck to the pan, and then I can just flip them right over. Check the heat and adjust as necessary to keep the hash browns sizzling but not burning.
  4. In the meantime, prepare any optional garnishes such as shredded cheddar cheese, chopped avocado, etc.
  5. Once the hash browns are crispy on both sides, it's time to eat!  Add a generous scoop of hash browns to each bowl, topped by the beef and any garnishes. This is a great substitute for a fast-food dinner. If you feel the need to have some sort of vegetable with this meal, I find that Fermented Bread and Butter Pickles or Sweet and Sour Snow Peas are a good complement.

Do you have your own version of homemade fast food?  What is your favorite quick-and-easy dinner?

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Gini from LI said...

Sounds yummy!! I can't eat potatoes, tho, as they are nightshades, but I may try a less fast-food version grating my own organic sweet potatoes.

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering today how you were doing with the moving. What timing!


I_Fortuna said...

This looks great! You can add a tablespoon or so of flour or masa to the burger which will make a gravy. Just add a bit of water or broth to make it a little more smooth and gravy like. Add your spices and herbs the same time as the flour to make a tasty roux.
Serve lingonberry or other berry preserve along side this recipe or mix the preserves into the beef mixture. Even serve with a dollop of sour cream. YUM!
If you want to really go wild, leave out the herbs, spices and flour and add peach or apricot preserves and a splash of brandy. You will never be the same.