Pantry dump – noun, from the Latin, dumpus totalis foodia – the act of looking into your food cupboard, grabbing whatever is closest at hand and/or about to spoil, then concocting a meal that, despite the odds, is both edible and vaguely nutritious.
And lord was this recipe was a pantry dump, which to be fair, is how most hashes come to be. I had sweet potatoes, russets, and chicken to use…and quick. Ginger and garlic? Check! I had gochugaru, boy did I have gochugaru to use. Last year’s culinary infatuation was with Korean food and my first big try was homemade kimchee (hint: it was a success). But finding gochugaru (fiery red, medium-spicy Korean chili flakes) isn’t easy, even in Chicago, and buying it online yields large quantities. Luckily, it’s a flavorful and colorful addition to any spice rack and lots of fun to play with once you’re familiar with its potential. I’ve done similar versions of this hash in the past, it’s wonderfully quick and hearty, with the added benefit of being baked, making clean up a snap. And by the way, if you don’t know the virtues of a foiled-lined baking sheet, I implore you to find out…maybe even with this recipe!
Admittedly, gochugaru is not an ingredient I would normally include on a CookBlogNosh recipe, because it’s not readily accessible and unless you’re committing to a lot of Korean cooking, it’s a bit of a one-off, which is the bane of my cooking existence. Having it around though, forces me (and maybe you) to play and get creative, which is fun! Sweet potatoes and any kind of spicy heat is a heavenly match – remind me to tell you about my chipotle sweet potato tacos another time – and from there, it’s all about anything else you have to enhance that lovely combination. Today, it was chicken, but you could absolutely use pork, or omit meat altogether and use chunks of tofu to create a vegan version. This recipe is also gluten free, though as always, check the labels of your soy sauce, as well as the doenjang, to make sure the ingredient list is safe for your diet. Normally I would have used lots of scallions, but I was out, so I used peas for a some color and texture. Toss in some sesame seeds and you’re on your way to a Korean-inspired feast. I’m still betting on Korean to be the next big thing, and if you’re willing to bet with me, then invest in some gochugaru yourself, and give this a try.
2 tablespoons oil (such as vegetable or light olive oil)
1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium or naturally fermented soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon onion powder (or 1 cup scallions, cut into large chunks)
1 teaspoon doenjang (fermented soy paste)
3 tablespoons water
4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (about 2 medium sweet potatoes)
2 cups Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (about 1 large potato)
1 pound boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs, cut into chunks
1 cup frozen peas
Kosher salt, scallions and/or sesame seeds, for garnish
- Combine all ingredients except the potatoes and chicken in a large bowl. It should have a medium consistency (not too runny, but not a paste either). Add more water if it looks too thick.
- Cube your potatoes and chicken, they should all be roughly the same size.
- Add the cubed items to the bowl and combine well. Let marinate for a few minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the hash onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Try to make sure there is a little room between the pieces so that they will roast, not steam, while in the oven.
- Roast the hash for 25 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, add the frozen peas, stirring to combine, and roast 5 more minutes.
- Serve as is, or atop some rice, garnish with kosher salt, sliced scallions and/or toasted sesame seeds and nosh!
Serves 4-ish, but adding the rice would definitely carry this past the ish-mark, maybe even into leftover land…