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Beets add unique color to breakfast hash

Recipe: Purple flannel hash patties with roasted beets

An egg nicely tops off the crispy patties of purple flannel hash.

An egg nicely tops off the crispy patties of purple flannel hash. Debbie Arrington

I like my hash in patties with a crispy crust. I also like roast beets. Combine the two and you have a colorful, flavorful breakfast.

Purple flannel hash is what happens when you put red flannel hash in the food processor. An old-school New England favorite, red flannel hash  adds cooked beets to corned beef hash; the nickname comes from the red color of both ingredients. The vegetables and meat are cubed and cooked in the oven or a skillet until crispy.

Red flannel hash stays red because the beets don’t get a chance to truly mingle with the other ingredients. The food processor lets loose the beets’ wonderful color and tints all the other ingredients.

That purple color is especially useful when mixing roast beef or corned beef; with beet juice, they blend together. It also brightens up all-roast beef hash, which can tend to look grayish.

I use seasoning salt in this recipe in part because I can see it after I add it to the patties.

Serve topped with eggs (or not) as you like it.

A roasted beet on foil
Keep the beet in foil until ready to use.

How to roast beets: Set oven to 400 degrees F. Clean beets, leaving about 1 inch of top and most of the tap root. Wrap each beet individually in foil and place in a large pan or on a rimmed cookie sheet (to catch any beet juice).

Roast beets at 400 degrees until tender when pierced with a thin knife, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. (Roast beets can be stored in their foil until ready to use.) Remove from foil and run beets under cold water. With a knife, remove top. The skin will rub right off. Remember to wear gloves while working with beets, or your hands will be purple, too.

Purple flannel hash patties

Makes 2 to 4 servings

Ingredients:

½ onion, chopped (about ½ cup)

½ pound cooked beef and/or corned beef, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 medium potato*, cooked and peeled

1 medium rutabaga*, cooked and peeled

1 large beet or 2 small beets, roasted and peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

Seasoning salt and pepper to taste

2 to 4 fried or poached eggs (optional)

Instructions:

In a food processor, chop onion. Add beef or corned beef cubes. Process until meat is chopped to desired consistency.

Quarter the cooked potato and rutabaga. Add to the food processor with the meat and onion mixture, and pulse until roughly chopped but not mashed. Quarter the beet(s) and add to food processor.

Dark red hash patties in a pan
Hash patties are cooked over medium heat.

Process until beet is chopped and hash is blended, about 1 minute. (Mixture will turn bright purple.)

In a large heavy skillet, heat oil. With a large spoon, form hash mixture into patties and put into pan, flattening with the spoon or a spatula. Season patties with seasoning salt and pepper.

Cook over medium heat until patties form a crust, turning once (about 5 to 7 minutes per side).

Serve hash warm topped with eggs (optional), cooked as desired.

* May omit rutabaga and double amount of potato.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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