I came up with this hash recipe when I accidentally ordered twice as many Pekin duck breasts as I needed for a class. The extras went into my freezer, and every couple of weeks I'd pull out one whole breast to cook. I'd eat half for dinner one night, and save the other half for hash a couple of days later. By the time I made it through my stockpile, I looked forward to the hash just as much as the sauteed breast. In the U.S., you'll generally find two types of duck breast in most markets. Pekin duck breasts are small – a half-breast is about 6 or 7 ounces — and are generally sold whole. Magret (or moulard) breasts are much larger, weighing a pound or more per half-breast. Either will work for this recipe. If you don't have duck, chicken thighs work well in this recipe, or you can use the more traditional corned beef in place of the duck (although you won't have the duck cracklings or the joy of potatoes cooked in duck fat).
Makes 2 servings
1 Pekin duck breast (whole) or 1 small magret (moulard) half duck breast
1 to 2 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 very small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chicken or duck stock
1 tablespoon cream (optional)
1 to 2 teaspoons cider or wine vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper
2 poached eggs (follow Poached Eggs recipe)
Chopped chives or parsley to garnish (optional)
To cook the duck breast: Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat for a couple of minutes. While it's heating, score the duck skin by cutting through the skin and fat (but not the meat) about every inch. Turn the breast 90 degrees and repeat, so you have a diamond pattern of score marks. Salt the duck on both sides.
When the skillet is hot, place the duck breast skin side down in the skillet and turn the heat down to medium. For a Pekin duck breast, cook for 6 minutes and turn skin side up. Cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes for medium rare meat. For a magret half-breast, cook about 8 to 10 minutes on the skin side, turn and cook for an additional 6 to 8 minutes. The skin should be crisp, most of the fat should be rendered out from under the skin, and the meat should be pink. Remove the duck from the skillet to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes or so before proceeding with the recipe.
Place the potatoes in a small pan and cover with water. Over medium high heat, bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until almost done (potatoes should still be slightly firm in the center). Drain thoroughly and pat dry.
Meanwhile, remove the skin and fat from the duck breasts and dice it. Cut the meat into 1/2-inch cubes (you should have 1 to 2 cups of meat).
In a medium skillet over medium heat, saute the diced duck skin until fat renders and the skin is very crisp. Remove the skin and reserve. You should have a thick coating of duck fat in the pan; if not, add vegetable oil to coat the pan.
Raise the heat to medium high. When the fat is hot, add the drained potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes, until they begin to color slightly. Add the duck meat and cook to heat through, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the stock to the pan and stir to dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce until most of the stock is evaporated. If you like a richer, more cohesive hash, add the cream, stir and cook just until the cream is heated through and coats the hash.
Sprinkle the hash with a teaspoon of the vinegar and a couple of grinds of black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or vinegar as desired.
Divide the hash between two plates and top each with a poached egg. Sprinkle with the reserved duck cracklings and chives or parsley, if using.