No offense to anyone tending to their sourdough starters, but right now, all I want to eat is something that’s comforting, filling and easy to make. And if I can whip it up without having to make a trip to the grocery store, even better. Enter the deliciousness that is pytt i panna, aka Swedish hash.

In Swedish, this dish translates to “small pieces in a pan,” which is exactly what it is—leftover bits and pieces from the fridge, fried to a mouthwatering crisp in a pan. It’s a staple in Swedish households (including mine) and a great way to use up last night’s scraps.

There are countless variations of pytt i panna, but most versions use leftover meat, cooked potatoes and onion. Adding bacon, pickled beetroot or a fried egg is highly encouraged (but not necessary if you don’t have them on hand). The result is a warming dish that’s mostly savory (from the meat), a little bit sweet (thanks to the fried onions) and delightfully crispy. The addition of something pickled gives it a nice hit of acidity, while an over-easy egg oozing over the plate creates a sauce that’s begging to be mopped up by the pan-fried spuds. In other words, tucking into this hearty dish is the culinary equivalent of being enveloped in a warm hug.

For all these reasons and more, Swedish hash has been a regular in my social distancing repertoire and once you make it, I think it will be in yours too.

You don’t really need a recipe to make pytt i panna, since it’s meant as a sort of fridge-cleaning exercise, but here’s one to get you started.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 6 to 8 cooked potatoes, diced into small pieces (½-inch chunks if you’re feeling fancy, but a rough chop will do)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups leftover meat (ham, steak, lamb, sausage or chicken), diced into similar sized pieces as the potatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 fried eggs, for serving
  • pickled beetroot, for serving

Steps:

  1. Fry the potatoes in the butter over medium heat until the spuds begin to color. (Your cast iron skillet was made for this.)
  2. Add onions and fry until golden.
  3. Add the meat and continue cooking until all the pieces are well browned.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with pickled beetroot and a fried egg on top.

A few notes...

Want to add some bacon? Great idea. Only have fresh beets instead of pickled ones? Toss them in there. Think that some fresh thyme would be *chef’s kiss* in here? You’re probably right. There’s very little that can go wrong with this easy dish—experiment and enjoy. Or as we say in Swedish, smaklig måltid!

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