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Hash Browns with Gruyère and Pancetta

Cosy supper dish or hearty brunch offering — take your pick! The savoury, perfectly complimentary flavors here are equally at home beside a nice glass of wine or a good, strong cup of breakfast tea. It is essential to use a non-stick pan: we tried otherwise and ended up with a ‘hash’ all right, though of course it still tasted absolutely wonderful!

 Hash Browns with Gruyère and Pancetta

28 oz. Russet potatoes
2 tbs. olive oil, divided
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2.5 oz. diced pancetta
2 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated
small bunch parsley, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
roasted cherry tomatoes and mushrooms, to serve (optional)

Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks, and put them in a saucepan of cold salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes until just cooked (do not overcook or the potatoes will absorb too much water).

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbs. of the olive oil in a small pan. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt, then cover and cook over a low heat for 15-20 minutes until the onion is soft and starting to caramelize. Remove the onion and garlic, then fry the pancetta in the same pan until the fat has melted and the pancetta is crisp.

Drain the potatoes and allow to steam-dry. Once cool enough to handle, chop the potatoes into ½” dice and mix in a bowl with the pancetta, Gruyère, parsley, beaten eggs, onion and garlic. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper.

Heat the remaining tbs. olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Gently tip in the potato mixture and press down with the back of a large spoon. Fry over a medium heat for 15 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Tip the hash brown onto a plate, then slide back into the pan, cooked-side up. Cook for another 15 minutes until golden and hot. Serve with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, if you like.

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