Red Flannel Hash is one of those simple, culinary achievements born of scarcity.

Credit the name to those thrifty New England cooks, who added beets for a dash of red in this American classic, making it as warm and comforting as a cozy work shirt.

The old-fashioned recipe is my go-to for brunch, lunch or dinner when the pantry is low and time is short. The simple medley of root vegetables, nicely crisped in a cast-iron skillet, often includes corned beef or ham. It's then topped off with a fried or poached egg.

But a good hash needn't be bland or insipid. I like to spark it with lemon or lime juice, hot sauce, sometimes a side of salsa or horseradish cream.

Though most recipes call for steaming or roasting the vegetables in advance of frying, I've found that "steam frying" them in the same skillet does the job with less fuss and muss. It's a matter of cutting the vegetables into same-sized pieces so they cook evenly. They're started in a little oil or butter in a skillet over low heat and covered so they steam in their own juices. Once tender, they are browned off over high heat. This technique works for just about any vegetable, though some will take longer than others. Hash is also a great way to transform leftover veggies.

In winter's kitchen, storage vegetables — potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, rutabaga — make a terrific hash. Once browned and crisped, the vegetables are crowned with an egg that puddles into a lush, golden sauce, completing this simple yet luxurious meal that's just right at any time of day.

Red Flannel Hash

Serves 2 and is easily expanded.

Note: A medley of potatoes, beets and sweet potatoes is topped with a poached or fried egg. Feel free to add chopped cooked ham, corned beef or bacon into the mix. From Beth Dooley.

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 small onion, diced

• 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-in. dice

• 1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed, cut into 1/2-in. dice

• 2 medium gold beets, cut into 1/2-in. dice

• Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

• Pinch red pepper flakes, to taste

• Shot of hot sauce, optional

• 1 tbsp. butter

• 2 fried eggs (see recipe)

• Salsa or hot sauce for serving, optional


In a deep heavy skillet set over medium heat, add the oil and then the onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the diced vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper and a pinch of the red pepper flakes and a shot of hot sauce, if using. Shake the pan to distribute the vegetables evenly, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until they become tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add a tablespoon or two of water if the vegetables are sticking and shake the pan.

Remove the cover, add the butter, and stir the vegetables, cooking and stirring until they are browned on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve topped with a fried or poached egg and a side of salsa.

Fried Eggs

Serves 2.

• 2 eggs

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Heat a nonstick skillet over medium and swirl in butter to melt. Crack the eggs into the pan and cook until the edges turn opaque, about a minute. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook until the eggs are just firm, about 4 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the eggs to the hash. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Beth Dooley is the author of "In Winter's Kitchen." Find her at