Prep Time: 40 min. + overnight chillingIngredients:
Put the potatoes in a deep pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn off flame. Let the potatoes sit in the boiled water for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a pan to medium heat and fry the bacon. Once crispy, quickly sauté the spinach until wilted and take off the heat. Save leftover fat.
After eight minutes, poke potatoes with a knife to confirm they are cooked—they should receive the tip of a knife easily, but without getting mushy. (If they’re mushy, it’s too late for hash browns, but not a complete waste. Drain the pot and make mashed potatoes or soup.)
Pour potatoes into a colander and let dry. While they are still warm, peel the skin off of each potato with a paring knife, as vegetable peelers can get gummed up. Grate the potatoes into a bowl on the coarse side of a box grater or by using the grater attachment of a Kitchenaid mixer (but stay away from your Cuisinart—they’ll turn to goop!). Mix the minced onion and chopped cottage bacon into the grated potatoes, then season generously with salt and pepper, then mix thoroughly with your hands.
While the potatoes are still warm, scoop them up a handful at a time (about 1/2 cup) and form them into oblong disks with your hands. Pack them tightly using a “hand-clap” shape. Dip your hands into clean water between each hash brown to make it easier.
Once the hash browns are formed, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to store overnight in your fridge. If the potatoes are properly cooked, the hash browns won’t turn gray, but they’ll still taste good even if they do.
To cook, heat up a fryer to 350ºF or fill a pot at least 2 inches deep with oil. Fry for about 5-7 minutes in batches small enough that they don’t crowd. Place on a drain rack or a few layers of paper towel until you’re ready to serve.
In a large skillet or griddle, heat a tablespoon of the bacon fat or oil over medium high heat. When the it is hot enough to sizzle when you touch a bit of potato to it, smash the hash browns down on the oiled griddle. Spread grated cheese on top of each section of potato. Let the potato cook undisturbed for 5-7 minutes, lifting up an edge from time to time with a spatula to see if the potato is browning. Cook until the underside of the potato is golden brown and the edges are crisp, then fold each hash in half so that it looks like a taco with the cheese tucked inside.