Photo by Robert Strickland

Paula Forbes celebrates 24 Diner's hearty hash in The Austin Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from Deep in the Heart of Texas

Paula Forbes
March 20, 2018

Paula Forbes has been writing cookbook reviews for a decade, and living in Austin, Texas, for even longer. In her debut outing as an author, it makes perfect sense that Forbes would seek to celebrate the cooks, ingredients, and dishes that have brought her such delight all this time. In The Austin Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from Deep in the Heart of Texas, out this week from Abrams Books, Forbes collaborated with restaurants to create a living record of the way the city eats.

And of course there's plenty of breakfast love. Forbes tells Extra Crispy, "I love a good breakfast taco, I do. But Austin breakfast is so much more than that, whether you’re eating kolaches in line for barbecue at 8 a.m. or plowing through a hearty hash like this one after a long night out. Not that I’ve ever done something like that."

Photo by Robert Strickland

24 Hash

From The Austin Cookbook by Paula Forbes, published by ABRAMS c 2018

24 Diner is one of the few places in Austin where you can get a good solid breakfast any time of day. Important for students, touring musicians, and the occasional cookbook author. This is one of their classic dishes—a crispy, cheesy, meaty hash with eggs baked on top. This is great with leftover taco filling or barbecue instead of bacon and sausage, and it loves a hefty dash of hot sauce on top.

Serves 2 people, or 1 really hungry person

Ingredients

4 ounces (115 grams) bacon, cut into ¼-inch (6-mm) pieces
4 ounces (115 grams) breakfast sausage
2 cups (280 grams) diced unpeeled potatoes
Salt and black pepper
Olive oil as needed
½ onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
4 ounces (115 grams) cheddar cheese, shredded
4 eggs
1 scallion, sliced

Directions

1. Heat the oven to 450°F (230°C). In a 12-inch (30.5-cm) cast-iron skillet (or some other 12-inch/30.5-cm ovenproof pan), cook the bacon and sausage over medium heat until browned and crispy, stirring to break up the sausage. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the pan and set it on a paper towel to drain the grease. Leave the leftover fat in the pan.

2. Toss the potatoes in the remaining fat, seasoning them with a bit of salt and black pepper. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the potatoes for 12 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Remove the potatoes from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3. You should have a tablespoon or two of bacon grease left in the pan; if not, add a bit of oil. Sauté the onion and jalapeño over medium heat until softened. In a mixing bowl, mix together the cooked bacon and sausage, potatoes, onion and jalapeño, and cheese.

4. Return the mixture to the pan and spread into an even layer. Use the back of a spoon to create four shallow wells in the potato mixture. Crack eggs into these wells and bake until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and divide into individual servings using a metal spatula. Sprinkle with the scallion and serve.

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