Featured in the September 2012 issue of Southern Living Magazine
Ingredients you'll need:
3 cups freshly shredded russet potatoes or frozen shredded hash browns or 20 oz pkg refrigerated shredded hash browns
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 beaten egg whites
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4-1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 1/2 cups colby-jack cheese
16 oz sour cream
8-10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
chopped parsley or chives for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
If using fresh potatoes: Shred the unpeeled potatoes into a medium size mixing bowl using a box grater or food processor. Blot gently with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Don't rinse. [tip: The starch will help the nests hold together.]
If using frozen shredded hash browns: Thaw completely before adding to the mixing bowl.
If using refrigerated hash browns: To truly simplify, a 20 ounce package of refrigerated hash browns found in the Dairy section of the grocery store, will also work beautifully for these potato nests.
Mix the shredded potatoes, beaten egg whites, shredded Parmesan cheese and seasonings together.
Scoop approximately 1/4 cup of the potato mixture into each muffin cup. Depending on how you divide the shredded potatoes, you may be able to yield more than 12, so, have another pan handy just in case. Using your hands, or a small glass, press the potato mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of each cup. Spritz each nest with butter flavored cooking spray or, you can drizzle them with a couple of tablespoons of melted butter, if you like. [Tip: I prefer the cooking spray, so the nests won't become too wet, and will hold together]
Place the potato nests into the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes until golden. Remove the pan from the oven and gently run a knife or an off set spatula around each nest to loosen the edges. Don't attempt to remove them immediately, allow them to rest in the pan for around 2 minutes. If you want your cheese to melt completely sprinkle the nests with the shredded cheese during the last 2 minutes of baking. Otherwise, sprinkle the shredded cheese into the warm nests on the counter.
To assemble, top with a tablespoon of grated colby-jack cheese.
Using a large star tip attached to a piping bag, pipe sour cream into the center of each nest. [or a teaspoon, of course ☺] Sprinkle the crumbled bacon on top, and garnish with finely chopped parsley or chives. Serve warm. Yield: 12-14 medium or 24 minis
If you'd like to make these bite-size, use mini-muffin pans. They make the perfect bite sized version. Bake at 450°F for around 15-16 minutes until golden.
Optional serving ideas:
Serve as a side dish with steaks, chicken or pork.
Fill with eggs and crumbled bacon or sausage topped with a drizzle of hollandaise for breakfast.
Fill with pulled pork barbecue and cheddar cheese.
Fill with taco meat and top with your favorite South of the Border toppings.