Sometimes life gets too busy and there just isn't much time to cook. 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!
I've included an option of caramelizing an onion along with the beef, but if you are very pressed for time, just skip that!
Ground Beef Over Crispy Hash Browns
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
one pound ground beef, preferably from grassfed, pastured cows
1 Tb butter (OPTIONAL)
one medium white or yellow onion, chopped (OPTIONAL)
OPTIONAL toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped avocado, salsa, honey mustard
celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
equipment needed: heavy bottomed skillet with a lid for the hash browns, and another skillet or saucepan for the beef
Start by melting one stick of butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium 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. Let the hash browns cook undisturbed for about 10 minutes. To make the hash browns nicely crispy, make sure you do NOT stir them much.
In the meantime, if you'll be including the optional onion with the ground beef, chop it up. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, and saute for about 5-10 minutes. Adding a small sprinkle of salt will help the onion cook faster, since it causes the onion to release its moisture. Let the onion develop a bit of brown, caramelized color. You can speed up this process a bit by adding a couple tablespoons of water to the skillet once the onion is sizzling nicely, but make sure to let the water cook off completely before adding the ground beef.
Crumble the ground beef into the skillet with the (optional) onion. Stir to combine. 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.
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.
In the meantime, prepare any optional garnishes such as shredded cheddar cheese, chopped avocado, etc.
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 sauerkraut make 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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