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Peel the potatoes, cut them into large chunks and put them in a saucepan of cold salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins until just cooked (do not overcook or the potatoes will absorb too much water).
Meanwhile, heat 1⁄2 tbsp 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 mins until the onion is soft and starting to caramelise. If the onion starts to catch, add a splash of cold water. 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 1cm dice and mix in a bowl with the pancetta, gruyère, parsley, beaten eggs, onion and garlic. Season generously with black pepper.
Heat 1 tbsp of the 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 mins 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 mins until golden and hot. Serve with roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, if you like.
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