Potato scones, ham hock & poached eggs

For those with a soft spot for brunch, here is a perfect little number for a slow Sunday morning.

These potato scones are a curious little thing. Mashed potatoes, bound with flour and seasoned with black pepper and a touch of grated nutmeg, take on a transformation when they are gently fried in a little clarified butter. Crisp and brown, with a soft, warm centre, it’s a lovely thing to factor into your brunch.

Here they are served with flaked ham hock and a runny poached egg. And lots of chopped chives — because where there is brunch and eggs, there are chives. It’s a rule.

Two plates of potato scones topped with flaked ham hock and a poached egg.

Serves 4


For the potato scones


To cook the ham hock:

  1. Place the hock in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place over a high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  2. After 10 minutes, use a ladle to skim off any foam or scum that rises to the surface of the pot, then add the bay leaves, carrots, peppercorns, and fennel seeds. Cook with a loose-fitting lid at a gentle simmer for around 2 ½ hours.
  3. Check if the hock is cooked — if the bone releases easily from the flesh, then it is cooked. If cooked, then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly in the liquid. If not, then continue cooking for the necessary time.
  4. Once the hock has sufficiently cooled, remove it from the liquid and begin to pick the meat. Discard the bones and then separate the flesh from the skin. I like to incorporate a little of the skin and plenty of the fat. How much of that you want is a matter of personal taste.
  5. Keep the cooking liquid from the hock — it will serve as a wonderful stock for something else.

For the scones:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Use a small knife to pierce the skin of the potatoes in various places. Season with salt and then place on an oven tray and then into the oven for about an hour.
  3. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Then cut in half and scoop out the flesh into a potato ricer or mouli legumes.
    Once all the potato is mashed, lay it on a clean work surface and add 3 tablespoons of the melted butter, several grinds of black pepper, and a grating of nutmeg. Then sprinkle evenly over the flour — it should resemble a light dusting of snow on the hilltops.
  4. Season the whole lot with fine sea salt, and then, using your hands or a dough scraper, begin to bring it together by gently kneading until everything is combined. Adding a dusting more flour to the work surface if needed. Be careful not to overwork the dough as this can leave it with a rather ‘gluey’ feel.
  5. Dust the work surface with flour, then roll the mixture out to about 1 ½ – 2cm thickness. Dust the top with a little flour, and then cut out the scones into triangles. Lay them on a piece of parchment paper, ready to fry.
  6. Set a frying pan over a low-medium heat and then add 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, taking only the clear liquid from the top, leaving the milk solids at the bottom. In batches, being careful not to overfill the pan, fry off the potato scones. Keep the heat low and take your time, about 2 minutes on each side, or until a lovely brown crust has formed. Repeat this process until all the scones are cooked.

To poach the eggs:

  1. Fill a tall pan with water and set over a high heat. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a very gentle simmer.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar to the water. Then break in 4 of the eggs and cook for 2-2 ½ minutes. Then remove from the water with a slotted spoon and drain on a tea towel. Season with salt and a little black pepper. Repeat until all the eggs are poached.

    To serve: Scones, poached eggs, and a pile of ham hock on the plate with chopped chives over the top.

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