It was that time. You all know it well, the day that you just HAVE to clean out the refrigerator! It being late January with the holidays behind us, there are always some interesting things left over from so many happy meals with friends and family. But what can you do with one limp carrot, some leftover apples, half an onion, some cabbage and other odds and ends? My solution this time – Veggie Hash! By the time I got done digging things out from the back of the bottom shelves, I had a wide assortment of interesting vegetables. I will give you the list below, but do not take this for an ingredient list that you feel the need to rush out to the store to purchase! The idea here is that throwing away old produce, especially when you’ve spent good money on local and organic goodies really hurts. This is a great way to use up those left over odds and ends to create a fantastic and easy side dish.
To Spud, or Not to Spud
Hash is a term that can mean anything from meat and potatoes to all-veggie blends. I absolutely adore homemade corned beef hash with a poached egg on top, but the stuff that comes in a can is so full of sodium and other preservatives that I won’t indulge unless I have the real ingredients on-hand. Other hash combinations can include potatoes or sweet potatoes, but I opted not to do that with this blend. For one reason, I had plenty of other veggies already, and for another, I only have one potato in the house, and it is a baking russet that is in fine shape and still has the potential to be a baked potato for a later meal. One final reason that I did without the spuds this time is that my mix already included some butternut squash and carrot, and I felt like my carbs were covered.
To prep the veggies, I decided to put everything through my food processor with the chopping blade to get evenly-sized pieces.
I could have sliced it all by hand, (and I have done that with other hashes, it is totally dependent on you and what you’re throwing into the pot), but this seemed like the better option since I was using several harder veggies in among the more tender things like onion, fennel and apples.
Veggie Hash Ingredients
Here is what came out of my fridge today. Again, let me stress that this is NOT meant to be a recipe for you to run out and purchase the ingredients. I’m using this as an example of what to do with those tired, old veggies that you want to use up but they just don’t look that appetizing!
1/2 dozen bruised red apples
1 cup (roughly) green stems from a fennel bulb, fronds removed (the rest of the bulb is in good shape and has been reserved back in a Green Produce Bag to go on a salad at some point soon)
1/2 Vidalia onion (the other half created a luscious perfume through my whole house when it was sauteed off with bacon last week)
2 organic watermelon radishes (leftover from my CSA produce box from November)
1 large, very limp carrot
1 cup (or so) of butternut squash, that was looking rather squishy on the outside
1/2 head savoy cabbage
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
To this I added a generous drizzle of organic canola oil (maybe 2-3 tablespoons), sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and roughly 2 teaspoons of granulated garlic. (It was pretty darned tasty at this stage. As far as raw salads go, a squeeze of lemon juice and this would have been a great one!)
Everything was tossed together and laid out in a large roasting pan. It baked in a 350 degree oven for almost 3 hours , having been stirred every 20 minutes or so. I started with about 8 cups of raw veggie material, and ended up with about 6 cups once it had roasted.
The long, slow cooking process allows the sweetness of the apples and the fennel and butternut squash create a delicious caramelization that blends with the rest of the mix beautifully. I am planning on serving it alongside of some pork, I might stuff some inside a chicken breast, oh heck, I may just poach an egg tomorrow morning and serve it on top!
I hope your ventures in cleaning out the fridge can inspire you to create your own delectable Veggie Hash!