Most folks have an opinion on how they like their hash-brown potatoes -- divided between those who like them as a crispy jumble of chopped golden nuggets, and those who prefer long delicate shreds fried into an orderly, soul-fortifying cake.
We'll teach you both methods. But whichever camp you belong to, the secret to perfect hash bwons is patience. Let hash browns cook for the full time called for in the recipe so they'll develop a nice brown crust (peek after about 4 minutes to make sure they don't burn). Then, if making the shredded style, turn carefully -- using two spatulas or a spatula and a fork -- to keep the potatoes together. Turn the chopped potatoes the same way, keeping them together as much as you can.
We've discovered that plain russet potatoes work the best for creating incredible shredded hash browns. You can also use whites or Yukon golds, if that's what you have on hand. For the chopped style, any potato works well.