Typically, I love Fridays. To me, the day means the promise of free time, friends, and martinis in any given order.
Usually, I see Friday as the bright, shiny spot to my week. Black Friday, however, is a different story:
If you are one of the 12 people who hasn't heard this term used ad nausæum over the past few days, "Black Friday" refers to today, the day after Thanksgiving, which is, according to retailers, the official first day of the Holiday Shopping Season-- a day when millions of American-types have the day off and, presumably, enough money burning holes in their pockets to warrant getting up at 4 am to trample some poor Walmart worker to death in search of great bargains.
It just makes me cringe. I want nothing to do with either the day or any of its trimmings.
To someone like me, who may have the bad fortune of having holes in his pockets, but the good fortune of having nothing burning anywhere near them, it makes sense to spend the Friday after Thanksgiving holed up in order to recover from the orgy of food, wine, friends, and family.
I don't want to leave the house. I want to curl up on a couch and watch movies, or sleep off the thousands of calories I consumed the day before. I don't want to go to Union Square to see how pretty the lights are on the giant Christmas tree, I don't want to think about Holiday cards, and I definitely don't want to go shopping-- not even for food. I will wait out the crazy in the comfort of my own home and wait for next week, when I can start humming one of my favorite tunes with conviction:
Until then, here's a recipe that might help you avoid the madness, too...
Turkey Hash with Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4 to 6
...or anything else you have that's left over from Thanksgiving dinner. All the ingredients should be on hand (which is precisely the point). Turkey, sweet potatoes, russets, onions-- you know you've got them. You've been on a role with the heavy food intake, so why not carry it over to breakfast? Oh, hell, you know you're going to carry it over until the New Year. I don't know who you think you're fooling if you say otherwise.
Turkey, on it's own, is boring (and potentially dry)-- it needs help. Sweet potatoes turn mushy and, naturally, sweet, so they need some assistance from their firmer, starchier friend, the Russet. All of them need salt to help them along, and salt needs them, otherwise, no one would us it and then where would it be? This is a beautifully co-dependent start to the day-after.
2 cups diced turkey meat, white or dark
1 cup medium-diced onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced sweet potato, baked for 30 to 40 minutes in the oven. Or just pick off the marshmallows from the dish you had last night-- no one will notice, since the sweet potatoes will more than likely disintegrate during cooking.
2 cups baked, diced Russet potato
1 small jalapeño pepper, diced on the small side.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup turkey stock, if you still have some on hand. Chicken stock will do nicely, too. This dish needs a little moisture before browning to give the turkey a chance. For extra decadence, substitute 1/4 of heavy cream for the stock. Seriously.
About 2 teaspoons of salt-- more depending on taste. I like more.
A generous amount of freshly ground black pepper-- at least a teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Parsley for garnish. Or chives. Or whatever. I'm just into parsley these days.
1. In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Pre-heat your broiler to hi. Add onion and bell pepper and cooking, stirring all the while, until they begin to brown (3 to 5 minutes). Add garlic and jalapeño and cook for one minute more.
2. Add sweet potato, Russett potato, salt, and turkey at this point. Stir occasionally until the potatoes begin to brown (8 to 10 minutes). Add broth (and cream, if you are using) and cook down for another 3 or 4 minutes, shaking and scraping the pan from time to time. Taste to adjust salt levels, if you must.
3. To finish the browning by getting a nice crust on top, I like to stick my hash under the broiler for a couple of minutes-- obsessively checking it-- until such a state has been achieved. This is more than likely cheating in the minds of all good line cooks across this land of ours, but my skills are limited and I do whatever I must to attain my goals.
4. Sprinkle with the cayenne, grind over the pepper and add a little fresh green with a handful of parsley meted out over the top. Serve hot with poached eggs, or whatever else you've got left over from Thanksgiving that you think might work well with hash. Do not, however, serve with egg nog. To eat, curl up on couch, wrap yourself up in your favorite blanket or pashmina, pop in any vintage movie starring an adorable, precocious child like Margaret O'Brien, Natalie Wood, or Peggy Ann Garner, and go to town. Or, rather, don't, because that's where all the crazy people will be.