Make-Ahead Cheesy Hash Brown Cups with Bacon and Chives
These Make-Ahead Cheesy Hash Brown Cups with Bacon and Chives will be the star of your next brunch gathering!
Who doesn't love that cheesy sour cream hash brown casserole that shows up time after time at family gatherings and potlucks? It seems that this same basic recipe has been around forever, but I never tire of its comforting flavors. My mom and youngest sister are famous for keeping this scrumptious recipe on our plates, racking up extra points of favor from my husband each and every time they serve it.
I decided to take this tried and true recipe and step it up a notch or two. With just one bite, I know you'll agree that these Make-Ahead Cheesy Hash Brown Cups with Bacon and Chives are as good as this dish gets!
I am excited, and so honored, to be on the Kitchen Conversations team again this year with Land O'Lakes. Their butter, plus so many other Land O Lakes products, are staples in our kitchen. And I love knowing that their headquarters are just down the road from me here in Minnesota, home base for this farmer-owned cooperative.
To begin this New Year with Land O'Lakes, they asked me to share a brunch recipe. I couldn't resist the idea of individually portioned hash brown cups that could be made a day in advance. Because on the morning of hosting a brunch, I hope that my kitchen is clean and shiny, and that all I have to do is pop dishes in the oven and make the table pretty for guests. I hope you find this recipe as irresistible as I do!
I used the Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil in this recipe for cheesy hash brown cups. Simply take the tub out of the refrigerator a few minutes before you're ready to start, and it will be perfectly creamy and easy to measure.
The butter with canola oil is mixed with crushed corn flakes cereal and a touch of garlic powder for an awesome crunchy topping. It is also incorporated into the hash brown mixture and used to create an easy creamy substitute for the cans of cream soup that are listed in the traditional recipe. No canned soups here!
Another really great twist to the traditional hash brown casserole recipe is that I added bacon to these hash brown cups. Because bacon is never, ever a bad thing. Especially when it comes to brunch.
Also, because our girls are head over heels for anything with sharp cheddar these days, I incorporated sharp cheddar in lieu of the more common mild or medium. This punches up the flavor even more.
Hash brown casserole from a big ol' pan or slow cooker is fine, and you'll never see me pass up a helping of it. I, in fact, will continue to make it that way, too, for the common potluck gathering. But when I'm looking to serve this tasty dish with a bit of entertaining flair, I'll be using this recipe right here, baked in pretty ramekins. It always fun to see how much people enjoy being served an individually portioned dish. It's like they just received the most amazing gift, which makes the hostess in me smile.
Yield: 8 SERVINGSIngredients
2 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound bacon
4 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil
1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound frozen hash brown potatoes (no need to thaw)
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
8 ounce shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the corn flakes topping:
1/2 tablespoon Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil
1/2 cup crushed corn flakes cereal
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
For the cream soup substitute:
In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the Butter with Canola Oil. Whisk in flour. This will be thick. Let mixture cook for a minute or two, stirring once or twice, until it browns just a bit. Then slowly stir in chicken broth while gently whisking at the same time, to smooth out the butter/flour mixture. Then slowly add half and half, while gently whisking until smooth. Let mixture simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
For the hash brown mixture:
Preheat oven to 350°. Place eight 8-ounce ramekins or custard cups on a large baking pan and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, gently fry the bacon until chewy-crisp. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate. When cool enough to handle, chop bacon into small pieces and set aside.
Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from the skillet and return skillet to stove top over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of Butter with Canola Oil to melt. Add onion and sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat.
Reserve 3 tablespoons of the chopped bacon; set aside. Add remaining chopped bacon and onion/garlic mixture to a large bowl. Stir in hash brown potatoes. Then add prepared cream soup substitute, sour cream, and cheese. Gently melt remaining 3 tablespoons Butter with Canola Oil in a small bowl in the microwave, and drizzle over hash brown mixture. Fold to fully incorporate, then add 3 tablespoons of chopped chives and fold mixture again. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Divide hash brown mixture evenly between the eight ramekins.
For the corn flakes topping:
In a small bowl, briefly microwave the Butter with Canola Oil to melt. Stir in crushed corn flakes cereal. Sprinkle with garlic powder and stir to incorporate. Divide mixture evenly over the tops of the hash brown mixture in the ramekins.
Add the reserved 3 tablespoons of bacon around the edge of the corn flakes topping, dividing evenly between the eight ramekins. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
If baking immediately, place pan with ramekins in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and the tops have browned a bit. If baking later in the day, or the following day, cover the pan of ramekins with foil and place pan in refrigerator. Remove pan from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking. Bake, uncovered, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and the tops have browned a bit. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes prior to serving. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of chopped chives, dividing evenly amongst the eight ramekins.
Adapted from the cheesy sour cream hash brown recipe that my mom and sister Jessica often serve, originally from the Braun-German cookbook from my dad's side of the family.
Disclosure: A Farmgirl’s Dabbles has partnered with Land O’Lakes for an exclusive endorsement of Land O Lakes® Butter for their Kitchen Conversations blogger program. This blog post is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.
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