2 duck legs
2 med potatoes
5 duck eggs
3 echalion shallots
2 1/2 tbsps plain flour
20g cooked ham
200ml red wine
200ml beef stock
1 clove of garlic
1 1/2 tbsps vinegar
Salt & pepper to season
It is best to cook the duck legs the night before so they are ready for the morning. This is not essential but avoids an early start.
Season all sides of the legs then take an oven proof skillet with a lid and drizzle a little oil in the bottom. With the lid off, place on the hob and sear all sides of the legs on a medium to high heat until browned. Place the lid on and put in the oven at 150°C for 2 hours.
Remove from the oven, drain the fat into a bowl for later, pull the meat away from the bones and set aside to cool.
For the sauce, take a small pan and add a large knob of butter and 1 tbsp of flour. Heat gently whilst stiring continuously to make a roux. Now add the beef stock stirring it in bit by bit until it is combined with no lumps followed by the red wine. Now finely chop the ham and crush the garlic with the back of a knife, also finely slice one of the shallots and add all to the pan. Continue to simmer for 45 minutes then strain to remove the ham chunks, onion and garlic.
Peel the potatoes and grate. With the grated potato, squeeze out as much moisture as you possibly can and then place in a large mixing bowl.
Place the duck on a large chopping board, then with a rolling pin bash the meat so it starts to break up then pull it apart into stringy pieces. Add this to the potatoes. Slice the other 2 shallots and add the the potatoes along with a good season of salt and pepper.
Dust the mixture with 3/4 tbsp of flour and then add a duck egg, mix through then add a further 3/4 tbsp flour and mix through again. The hash is now ready for the frying pan.
Put a large pan of water boiling for the pouched eggs.
With the saved duck fat, add a couple of table spoons to a large frying pan and turn to a medium heat. With the hash mixture mould a ball that fills the palm of your hands and then press flat into the pan to resemble a beef burger patty. With a spatula tuck in any loose edges and then repeat until you have 4. When all are in, reduce to a medium to low heat, they will need about 7 minutes on each side.
Steam the spinach and set aside draining.
For the pouched eggs reduce the water to just under a simmer and add the vinegar. Adding each egg one at a time, put an egg in a ramekin and lower into the water, tipping out carefully, repeating in turn with the others. The success of your eggs will rely heavily on them being room temperature and as fresh as possible.
Remove the eggs when they look done, it should be 2-3 minutes for a runny yolk. Put the duck hash onto your plates, divide the spinach and place on top of the hash, followed by the eggs on top again. Crack black pepper and a sprinkling of salt over the eggs.
Spoon a little sauce around the outside, serve and enjoy!
Marchand de Vin Sauce is the sauce commonly used in ‘eggs hussarde’. You may think it is a bit much to have a red wine based sauce early in the day but I disagree, after you have had your first bucks fizz or mimosa the thought won’t even cross your mind.
The key to making this achievable for a brunch with friends is cooking the duck legs the night before, putting the sauce going well before and the hash can be made before people arrive ready to be quickly shaped and thrown in the frying pan. With this preparation it will only be 15 minutes cooking time to get it on a plate while people are there, leaving more time to catch up.