For years, my daughter’s favorite after-school snack was Ore-Ida hash brown potato patties. They were made of shredded potatoes with no oil added, and it was a tight squeeze, but two of them fit in our little Foreman grill (they often came out fused together in one mega-patty). They were a healthy treat for a growing girl with a large appetite, one that she learned to make herself, with a little supervision. But then there came a day when our local grocery stores stopped carrying them, and eventually, I learned, the company stopped making them completely.
I hadn’t thought about them in years until I started seeing photos of potatoes cooked on waffle irons in the McDougall Friends group on Facebook. Most of these were whole, pre-cooked potatoes, smashed and browned between the plates of a waffle iron. So I decided to see if I could make shredded hash brown patties using the waffle iron. I did a Google search, of course, but every one of the top search results for “waffle iron hash browns” used oil. I knew from our Ore-Ida experience that they didn’t need oil in order to get crispy on the outside while tender on the inside, so I decided to give a fat-free version a try. And they were great!
Since this is a one-ingredient recipe that requires few words to explain, I thought I’d give it to you in pictures:
I started with 4 small red potatoes, weighing about 5 ounces total, which I washed well and dried. I began heating my George Foreman Next Grilleration on high. This large Foreman grill has removable plates so that you can switch between a grill set-up and a waffle iron. I used the waffle iron plates and wiped them a few drops of oil on a paper towel (most of the oil stayed on the paper towel). Any waffle iron should do, and if you know for sure that yours won’t stick, you can skip the oiling. I found out the hard way that oiling is necessary for mine.
While the waffle iron was heating, I shredded the potatoes in my food processor. It took 5 seconds.
I piled the potatoes in two circles on the Foreman’s large waffle iron grill. If you are using a regular waffle iron, just spread them evenly over the whole surface. Close the waffle iron. If yours has a temperature control, turn down the heat to between medium and high. If there’s no temp control, don’t worry about it. Set your timer for 15 minutes.
Open the waffle iron slowly, checking to see that the potatoes aren’t sticking to the top. If they aren’t quite brown enough, close the iron and give it a few more minutes. Remove from the grill and serve with your choice of condiments.
After I made the first batch, my daughter came in for a sample and pronounced them a winner. Then she quickly made–and devoured–a couple more.
Then I tried to get fancy and made a batch with red pepper and red onion–that’s them you see on the grill in the photo above. Unfortunately, that batch was not a success. It took so long to cook on the inside that it burned on the outside; and then to make matters worse, it stuck to the waffle iron (probably because I had forgotten to oil it) so badly that it had to be soaked for an hour to get all the pieces off. If I ever try that again, I will blot the vegetables with a kitchen towel to absorb the excess moisture. And I will oil the grill.
This spud’s for you!
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