BRYANNA’S CAJUN RED BEAN BREAKFAST HASH

Serves 3-4  (UPDATED October 2014)

Meat and potato hash is an old-fashioned way of serving leftovers for breakfast. This is a tasty modern take-off on that concept, using Cajun spices and the New Orleans staple, red beans. Serve with Vegan “Ham” Gravy (recipe below), or with ketchup. For a special breakfast, serve with scrambled tofu (my favorite is Julie Hasson's recipe).

6 ounces new or red (waxy) potato, diced small

6 ounces sweet potato (orange-flesh), peeled and diced small

(See Note below at beginning of recipe instructions.)

1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 small onion, finely-chopped

2 green onions, finely-chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups cooked or canned (a 19-ounce can) small red beans (or pinto beans), rinsed and drained (If you use other beans, be sure to see the Important Update at this post.)

2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (for a good homemade recipe, see this one from Mother Earth News)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup vegetarian broth

Steam the diced potatoes and sweet potatoes until just tender. (Note: You can use leftover cooked sweet potatoes and/or potatoes if you have some around.)

Use a 10-inch or so heavy skillet that can go under your oven's broiler (such as cast iron or hard-anodized). Spread the bottom to cover with dark sesame oil. Sauté the green pepper, onions, green onions, and garlic over medium-high heat until the onion is softened and starting to brown a little. Add the steamed potatoes and  sweet potatoes, and the beans. Mash the potatoes and beans coarsely right in the skillet with a potato masher. Add the Cajun seasoning, thyme and salt, and the broth. Mix well.

Turn on your oven's broiler to High and set rack about 6 inches below.

Turn down the heat under the pan on the stove to medium. Smooth the hash out evenly over the skillet and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until a crust forms on the bottom.

Cut the "cake" into four to six pieces and carefully loosen it from the pan with a thin spatula. Place the pan under the broiler heat and broil for a few minutes, checking carefully, until the top is a bit browned and crispy.  Remove from the broiler (using a good hot pad to protect your hands!)

Serve hot with "ham gravy" (see recipe below) or ketchup.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per 1/4 recipe): 200.3 calories; 1% calories from fat; 0.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 272.0mg sodium; 811.8mg potassium; 40.5g carbohydrates; 11.3g fiber; 3.3g sugar; 10.7g protein.

BRYANNA’S VEGAN "HAM" GRAVY

Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 cups

NOTE: If you don’t use alcohol, you can use a non-alcoholic wine (Ariel is a good brand)--a sweeter type such as Riesling--instead of the sherry.

1 1/2 cups mushroom bouillon

1/3 cup browned flour (see instructions below)

2 3/4 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup dry sherry

1/2 Tbs soy sauce

1/2 Tbs dark sesame oil

1/2 Tbs brown sugar or maple syrup

1/2 Tbs ketchup

3/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp liquid smoke  (see this post about this ingredient)

freshly-ground black pepper to taste

TO MAKE BROWNED FLOUR, brown 1/3 c. unbleached flour over medium heat in a DRY cast iron pan, stirring constantly, until it is as dark as brown coffee, being careful not to burn it.

In a blender, or with a hand immersion blender, blend the mushroom broth, browned flour, nutritional yeast, water, sherry, nutritional yeast, sesame oil, soy sauce, ketchup, liquid smoke, and salt until smooth. Stir constantly in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until it thickens and comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-5 minutes. Add freshly-ground black pepper to taste.

MICROWAVE OPTION: Pour the mixture into 1 qt. microwave-proof bowl or measuring pitcher. Cook on High for 2 minutes. Whisk vigorously so that the gravy is smooth. Cook again for 2 minutes on High. Whisk again. Cook one more time on High for 1-2 minutes. Whisk well.

NOTE: This can be made ahead and reheated.