What do you get when you combine southern, North Carolina roots with fond memories of a study abroad semester in the Netherlands? Waffled sweet potato hash browns with smoked Gouda pimento cheese, of course. If you didn’t have brunch plans before, you might want to reconsider.
I have mentioned before that North Carolina is the number one sweet potato producer in the U.S., a fact I am proud of even though I have nothing to do with any part of sweet potato production. This isn’t the first time we’ve made a breakfast food out of sweet potatoes around here. Sweet potato hash browns are a much more delicious take on regular ol’ white potato hash browns, and what kind of food isn’t more fun when waffled?
While the waffled sweet potato hash browns are delicious on their own, or when topped with a runny sunny-side up egg, the smoked gouda pimento cheese is really what steals the spotlight. We made a huge recipe and topped our biscuits, put it in our eggs, dipped veggies and crackers in it, and ate it with these waffled hash browns. It was absurdly delicious every time. Make a tub of it – you won’t regret it. Soooooo good. Also, aside from all of the grating (which can be sped along if you are lucky enough to have a grater attachment on your food processor), these recipes are both so so easy. If you can grate and mix, you can make waffled sweet potato hash browns and smoked Gouda pimento cheese. It really seems too simple, but sometimes those are the best kinds of recipes.
When I studied abroad in the Netherlands, I noticed that the cheese sections of the grocery stores had a lot of the same kind of cheese, just in different ages. The cheese usually didn’t have a name, it was just “kaas,” preceded by its age (young, semi-mature, mature, old, etc). It took me a while to realize that every cheese labeled this way was Gouda. Sidenote: I also quickly learned that the Dutch pronunciation of Gouda sounds nothing like the English pronunciation. The Dutch pronounce “g” as a guttural, “h” sound, making what we would say as “goo-da” into “how-da” (as in how-da heck do you pronounce this cheese?). Surprisingly, with all of the Gouda on the cheese shelves, there wasn’t much in the way of the smoked variety. Even after living in the Netherlands with Gouda everywhere, I still hold that the smoked variations will always be the best and I don’t know if I will ever make pimento cheese without smoked Gouda. To. Die. For. Seriously the best pimento cheese I have ever had.
We use three cheeses in this pimento cheese – smoked Gouda provides the most flavor of the three, parmesan gives it a bit of saltiness, and sharp cheddar fills in the gaps and brings some of the familiar pimento cheese flavor back to the table. Pimento might be a misnomer, because we use roasted red peppers in their place here, but I have no qualms about it. All in the name of flavor.
Scoop a generous dollop onto your waffled sweet potato hash browns, cover the whole thing with an egg, and your perfect brunch is served.
Waffled Sweet Potato Hash Browns
Makes 5-6 small waffled hash browns
1-2 large sweet potatoes (almost 6 cups shredded)
1 medium yellow onion, grated
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Squeeze out the sweet potatoes to get rid of some of the moisture (you don’t have to get rid of all of the liquid, just reduce the amount). Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
Preheat waffle iron to medium-high and grease both sides of the iron well. Place a scoop of the sweet potato mixture in the center of the waffle iron and close the lid. Peak at the color a few times while the hash brown cooks and remove after about 5 minutes, depending on your waffle iron. Serve with eggs and smoked gouda pimento cheese. Makes about 5-6 small waffled hash browns. If you want to try to make these crispier, reduce the number of eggs.
Smoked Gouda Pimento Cheese
Makes 4 cups (this is a lot of pimento cheese)
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated smoked Gouda cheese
2 roasted red bell peppers, peeled cored, seeded and chopped (we get the jars at Trader Joe’s)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, combine all of the cheeses and the roasted red peppers.
In a separate medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, jalapeno, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Stir to blend well.
Stir the mayonnaise mixture into the cheese mixture and stir to fully combine. Refrigerate until you are ready to use it.