Significantly greater than the sum of its key parts, hash is a humble dish, but it’s a perfect way to utilise leftovers. Research suggests the UK is responsible for an estimated 9.5 million tonnes of food each year, equating to around £19 billion worth of food that’s perfectly edible. In 2018, a staggering 69 percent of food waste in the UK also came from households, with hospitality and food service responsible for just 10 percent. Food waste remains a huge global issue, but using leftovers (in dishes such as this hash recipe) is a crucial step towards positive change.
Typically featuring a holy trinity of base ingredients: fried onions, potatoes, and chopped meat (plus the optional, not-necessarily-optional fried egg) hash’s dexterous nature makes it suitable to interpretation, enjoyed in different guises in various parts of the world. It needn’t include meat, vegetarian options are often delicious (as is leftover fish), and it’s easy to cook, making use of surplus food.
Originating from the French verb ‘hacher’, meaning ‘to chop’, hash has been enjoyed for centuries, with one of the first references dating back to the diary of Samuel Pepys, from a luncheon in 1662. More recently, corned beef hash saw a boom in popularity during (and following) the Second World War, as a result of rationing.
While hash is typically associated with lower classes, a number of higher end restaurants have experimented with the dish, adding luxury ingredients to elevate the classic. Highbrow hash is fine, but the most glorious examples are often found in the home. A jumble of ingredients rescued from the fridge, usually in the final hurdles before pay day. And though the best iterations don’t generally follow a strict recipe, this ox cheek hash recipe acts as a handy guide for ingredient quantities and cooking techniques, whatever your filling consists of; or whether you decide to follow the recipe to the note, or improvise with your own choice of leftovers.
- 250-300 g braised ox cheek or alternative filling
- 350-400 g potatoes diced
- 1 large onion finely sliced
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 3 sprigs thyme leaves picked
- 250 ml stout or a splash of balsamic vinegar and 150ml beef stock, if you don’t want to use alcohol
- 2 tsp brown sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped (leaves and stems)
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 eggs optional
- Cayenne pepper optional
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