Roasted Red Pepper and Pesto Hash Browns

Pesto and Red Pepper Roasted Hash Browns

Talk about taking your every day hash brown dish up a notch. Roasted hash browns + chicken sausage + feta + fresh basil. Alone, that would be enough to make me do bad cartwheels across my kitchen floor. But drizzle on the simple homemade pesto red pepper dipping sauce and it doesn’t take more than a bite to realize these hash browns are special.

Special = really delicious.

I’ve made this recipe four or five times since my brother-in-law, Brad, gave it to me, claiming the hash browns were lifechanging. That bold statement didn’t even alert my skepticism because a) he and his wife Cass have great, and very trustworthy, taste in food, b) the recipe originates from Mark and Julie Magleby (of the famed Magleby restaurant family) and c) I mean, hash browns, come on.

Pesto and Red Pepper Roasted Hash Browns

One time last month I needed to make dinner for a family who was moving without a lot of notice. I had these on the menu plan already for my little brood and before ever having tried them myself, I doubled the recipe, slapped them alongside some grilled chicken (with the dipping sauce in small disposable containers), tossed in a salad and grabbed cookies from the freezer on my way out the door. It was a risky move considering they aren’t your every day hash browns + I hadn’t tested the recipe beforehand. But the meal, according to all parties who devoured them, was an absolute hit.

These yummy hash browns have quickly made it onto our short list of side dishes we’ll eat with anything and everything and often just by themselves. I’m so happy I have in-laws who realize the way to my heart is through food (and most importantly recipes that make me look like a rock star).

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Roasted Red Pepper and Pesto Hash Browns with Sausage and Feta

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Ingredients:

Hash Browns:

  • 1 pound frozen Southern-style (cubed) hash browns (see note)
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • Chopped fresh basil for garnish

Pesto Red Pepper Sauce:

  • 8 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained (see note)
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Pinch salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the hash browns in a colander and rinse with cool water so they thaw just a bit (this also helps wash away some of the preservatives depending on the brand you use – see note above).
  2. Brown the sausage in a skillet until cooked through. Drain any excess grease.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the hash browns, sausage, onions, seasoning salt and melted butter. Toss to combine.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly on a large, rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender and sizzling, flipping the mixture with a thin metal spatula (or other type of spatula that won’t break the potatoes apart) about halfway through. Add minutes to the cooking time if needed.
  5. While the hash browns cook, in a blender or food processor, combine the roasted red peppers, basil pesto, sour cream, and salt. Process until smooth.
  6. Scrape the hash brown mixture onto a serving platter or into a bowl, sprinkle with feta and chopped basil and additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with the pesto sauce alongside for drizzling or dipping.

Notes:

Depending on where you live, look for a brand of southern-style hash browns that has minimal ingredients in the list (in my neck of the woods, Western Family is the main brand I can find where the only ingredient is potatoes – imagine that!). Also, instead of using jarred roasted red bell peppers, you can certainly roast your own (especially if you have a gas stovetop) – if doing so, use one large roasted red pepper. Any style of Italian sausage can be used; I’m partial to the chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s that comes in uncooked links (simply slice through the casing and press the sausage into the skillet).

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Recipe Source: adapted from Julie and Mark Magleby, passed on to me by my brother-in-law, Brad