How about one of these sinfully delicious spinach, cheese and sausage hash brown cups to start your holiday in the right direction?!?
It can’t get any better than this!
If you are looking to outshine any other bite at your holiday brunch table, look no farther. These hash brown nests have it all. Not just the perfectly cute and un-sharable two-bite size. But also an irresistible sausage and cheesy spinach filling, served over a crispy-at-the-edges scrumptious potato cup. And for the top: perfectly grilled pieces of bacon which will make tastebuds scream in delight, and your kitchen smell like heaven. And wait, that is not all! The best part?!?
Drum-roll please …
These hash brown nests are easy, and can be made ahead of time. Just bake and have them ready to be warmed up right before serving.
I simply love recipes that work on my schedule. Especially around the holidays when things can get a little hectic.
Now, let’s talk potatoes for a second. For this recipe I made hash browns from scratch. Yes, you heard me!I made it from actual potatoes 🙂
Of course you can use frozen ones, but it’s really not that big of a deal to make it yourself, especially if you have a food processor with a shredder blade.
Here are a few tips for you before you ran to peel the potatoes: I recommend cutting the potatoes in half before shredding in the food processor, so that the pieces won’t come out too long. Make sure to put the just-shredded hash brown in a bowl full of cold water immediately, so they won’t turn reddish/brown. Rinse thoroughly to remove the starch, or as much as you can. For this, I recommend placing the shredded potatoes in a colander and run under cold water, turning the potatoes with your hands. After that, you’ll need to remove as much water as you can. Squeeze the potatoes with your hand, or use a potato ricer (do not rice the potatoes, just press to get the water out). Whatever you do, get ALL THE WATER OUT!!!! Sorry for the yelling, but I get really passionate about my hash browns!
If there’s too much water in the potatoes, they won’t turn out crispy and crunchy. But more soggy and … blah!
Now look at my nests!
Look wonderful right?!? Even better when filled with the rest of the ingredients!
One last suggestion: if you are planning to have a lot of guests over for brunch, make sure to double up the recipe, and bake a lot of these. Trust me, these hearty and cozy bites will go quickly!
YIELD: 12 nests, 4-6 servings
- 2 lb (900 gr) of Russet potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)
- 1 1/4 cups (150 gr) of shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 6 pork links (6 oz, 170 gr)
- 3 slices of classic bacon
- 5 oz (140 gr) of fresh baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
TIME: about 1 hour
Preheat the oven to 450℉ (230℃).
Peel the potatoes, cut in half, and shred using a food processor (or a grater if you don’t have one).
Place immediately in bowl full of cold water (or they will turn reddish/brown in color).
Rinse thoroughly under water to remove the starch. You can place in a colander and run under cold water turning the shredded potatoes around with your hand.
Remove as much water as you can from the potatoes. You can squeeze them with your hand, or press them in small batches in a potato ricer (do not rice the potatoes, just press till the water comes out).
Place in a paper or kitchen towel, and dry them well.
Place the shredded potatoes in a bowl, add 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Toss.
Grease 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. If you are using silicone mold like I am, there’s no need to grease. Divide the hash brown mixture evenly in the 12 cups, and with your fingers or the back of a spoon press and pack the potatoes down and up the edges.
Bake at 450℉ (230℃) for 20 minutes until the edges brown a little.
While you wait prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Cook the bacon following the direction on the package. I placed the slices of bacon on a baking sheet, in one layer and baked in the oven with the potatoes also for 20 minutes.
Pat dry to remove excess grease when ready, and cut in pieces.
Follow the directions on the package to cook the sausages. I placed them on small pan, add one tablespoon of water, covered the pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove the lid, brown the sausages on all sides for about 10 minutes.
Remove from the pan and cut in four pieces each.
In the large pan add the fresh spinach with one tablespoon of oil. Sautee’ the spinach for a couple of minutes while turning until wilted.
Remove the hash brown nests from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 325℉ (165℃).
If necessary, pack the hash browns around the cup some more with a spoon.
Add two pieces of sausages into each nest. Top with the spinach (divide equally in the 12 cups).
Top with about one tablespoon of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Top with a few pieces of bacon, and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the hash brown fully cooked.
Wait a couple of minutes to remove the nests from the mold, and serve.