A few weeks ago, I picked up a shelf-stable carton of Hungry Jack hash browns, mostly out of curiosity.
I usually buy the frozen shredded hash browns, but I remembered the dried version that we used to take on camping trips. The dehydrated potatoes have to be soaked in water for about 12 minutes before you can fry them in the pan, but once they are soaked, you can treat them like thawed frozen hash browns.
Inspired by the "nests" recipe on the package, I set out to make hash brown muffin cups filled with baked eggs. The recipe called for tossing the hydrated potatoes with a little oil, placing them in muffin cups and then baking for 20 minutes before adding soft scrambled eggs and cheese and then returning the nests to the oven to finish cooking.
I decided I wanted to crack a whole egg in the hash brown nest to see what would happen, and I was delighted to pull out these little nests of sunshine one Sunday morning.
I've posted the Hungry Jack recipe, below, but I'll explain the tweaks I made.
Instead of scrambling the eggs first, I cracked several of the eggs straight into the muffin cups, but I also whisked three of them in a bowl and then poured them mixture into the cups to bake directly in the oven.
Because the eggs weren't par-cooked, they needed to bake for an additional 15 minutes in the oven to finish cooking, and that increased the crispiness of the hash browns, which I preferred. Keep an eye on the eggs, and if you pull them out in time, they'll still be a little runny inside.
Some similar recipes call for mixing cheese with the hash browns (either thawed from frozen or hydrated from the boxed mix) before putting them in the muffin cups.
You can sprinkle crumbled cooked bacon on top for garnish, or simply serve with ketchup or hot sauce.
Hash Brown Nests with Eggs and Cheese
1 carton (4.2 oz.) Hungry Jack Original hash brown potatoes
3 tablespoons cooking oil such as safflower or canola
6 slices American cheese, each slice cut into four quarters
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons chopped bacon (cooked)
1 tablespoon butter
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with no-stick cooking spray.
Fill hash browns carton to fill line with hot water. Let stand 12 minutes. Drain very well. Transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl and mix in the oil.
Scoop potatoes into each muffin cup, forming a nest. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Beat eggs in a mixing bowl. Heat a large non-stick skillet. Melt the butter in the pan, add the eggs and gently cook over low heat, stirring and breaking up any large curds. Cook eggs for 5 minutes, or until creamy and soft enough to easily scoop with a spoon. Season to taste with salt. Place two small cheese squares in the potato-lined muffin cup and top with about a tablespoon of the scrambled eggs. Sprinkle each muffin cup with chopped bacon.
Bake nests for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Gently run a butter knife around the edge of each muffin cup to loosen. Allow nests to cool for 5 minutes then remove from pan and serve.
— Hungry Jack