Inspired by Wolfie and his hash-making expertise, Tim Maddams raids his freezer stash of hare meat to share a slow-cooked feast of flavours. Serves two.
When I was a young chef, I worked with a chap known only as Wolfie, who was an excellent cook, and he once spent an hour on a Sunday morning enlightening me as to the best way to make a corned beef hash. This is his recipe, but I have used slow-cooked hare meat in place of the corned beef.
The hare hash has come about as the result of what can only be described as a small glut of hare in the Maddams family’s freezer thanks to an unexpected and fantastic day hare shooting in February.
The best thing about the day was the amazing ground we got to look at. The second best thing was answering the phone the week before, being asked how my season had been and being able to reply: “I’ll let you know when it’s finished.”
This recipe for hare requires a brief line or two about how we get the slow-cooked hare meat. I have, in this instance, cooked the hare shoulders and haunches very long and slow with a little cider, a little water and a lot of rendered beef fat.
You could use butter, duck fat or olive oil, but you need enough so that two-thirds of what the hare meat is cooking in is fat, the other third being cider or wine and a little water. Add a few bay leaves, a bulb of garlic and some salt and pepper.
I bring the whole show to a gentle simmer on the stove top then put it into a low oven — around 110°C — for at least five hours. When it comes out of the oven, it should be very easy to cause great chunks of meat to fall from the bone.
Allow the meat to cool to in the liquid, when the fat will solidify so you can remove it, retaining the liquid.
Recipe for hare hash
- A little of the fat from the hare cooking pot
- 2 large potatoes
- A sprig of thyme
- 100g hare meat, slow cooked following the instructions above and then picked from the bones and pulled apart into strips
- 3 spring onions
- A few dashes of Henderson’s relish or Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
- 100ml of the liquid (not the fat) from the hare cooking process
- 2 eggs
- 1 dtsp of HP sauce
- A sprig of parsley
- Salt and pepper
1. Heat a trustworthy frying pan on the stove. Grate the potatoes. Add the fat to the frying pan. Once melted and hot, add the grated raw potato, spread it out to an even thickness and press it down a bit with a spoon or spatula. Sprinkle a few thyme leaves over it and allow it to cook.
2. It will need flipping like a pancake halfway through the process. Season it with salt and pepper and, once the potato is all cooked, transfer it to a mixing bowl and put the pan back on the stove. Add the hare meat to the pan. Chop the spring onions and add these to the pan as well. Wolfie used to caramelise normal bulb onions but I prefer the spring onions. Season and fry for a minute or two, then tip this in with the potato.
3. Mix the hare and potato together and season with Henderson’s Relish, a little Tabasco if you like, and salt and pepper. Once thoroughly mixed, press it into a small tray or dish lined with non-stick kitchen parchment. You want the mix to be about three-quarters of an inch thick. Press it down and chill it for 2 hours.
4. Put the frying pan back on the stove after the 2 hours and cut the mix in half. Fry it again on each side until golden, crisp and hot. Place on to two warmed plates. Put the cooking liquid in a small pan and boil vigorously while you fry a couple of eggs in the frying pan. Chop the parsley. Add the HP Sauce to the simmering cooking liquid.
5. Place an egg on top of each hash, dress with the HP gravy and sprinkle with parsley. Offer up a silent prayer of thanks to Wolfie, nature and the world at large.