Looking for a brunch recipe to feed hungry holiday visitors? This decadent dish will garner raves. It can also be made ahead of time; do the final frying just before you are ready to serve. Confit duck legs are slowly cooked in duck fat for many hours until they are sensuously soft. It is an old way of preserving meat through the winter. You will find them at most upmarket butcher shops and some supermarkets during the holiday season. I like this dish with some spice, so I serve hot pepper sauce on the side. Complement with a bitter lettuce salad.
Ready time: 45 minutes
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 confit duck legs, 175 grams (6 ounces) each
4 cups peeled and diced Yukon gold potatoes (740 grams or 1 pound and 10 ounces)
2 cups diced onions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place duck legs, skin side down, in skillet for 5 minutes or until skin is slightly crispy. Turn over and cook second side for 2 minutes or until warmed through. Transfer duck to a plate and pour any duck fat from skillet into a bowl and reserve. Remove skin from duck legs and place skin in skillet over medium-low heat until crisp and any fat has melted, turning once (about 20 minutes). Transfer crispy skin to a plate lined with paper towels. Crumble and reserve. Add additional rendered fat from skillet to bowl.
Strip duck meat from bones and discard bones. Chop meat and reserve.
Place diced potatoes in cold, salted water and bring to boil. Boil for about 3 minutes or until crisp-tender (still slightly hard in the centre). Drain, then return to pot to dry over burner that is off but still warm. This will help them crisp later.
Top up duck fat with enough vegetable oil to reach 1/4 cup. Heat fat and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and sauté until they begin to turn golden (about 5 minutes). Add onions and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook until onions are soft and potatoes are golden all over (about 6 to 8 more minutes). Stir in thyme. Add chopped duck meat and stir in 2 tbsp parsley.
Pour hash mixture into a large bowl. Wipe out skillet and heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil over medium heat. Add hash mixture and use wooden spoon to compress into one large, round patty. Fry for 2 minutes, cover with a plate and carefully flip over onto plate. Slide hash back into pan to fry the other side for 2 minutes or until browned. Cut into 4 pieces.
Alternatively, make hamburger-size cakes, pressing hash into a 3 1/2-inch ring, and fry each side for 2 minutes. The mixture will make 4 to 6 patties depending on the size of the ring.
Poach 4 eggs separately, divide hash into 4 portions and top each portion with an egg and some crispy duck skin. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.