Hash of Lamb in Cider

The cooking term “hash”, which comes from the French hacher, to chop, means sliced or diced meat and vegetables. It was the name given to certain esteemed dishes from the Middle Ages onwards but fell into grave disrepute at the hands of many appallingly bad nineteenth-century cooks.

A hash requires a very good sauce, preferably with a little wine, ale or cider added and some fresh vegetables cooked in it. This Devonshire recipe uses cider but this can be replaced with wine or ale. The sauce is fairly thick and the meat, lightly fried in butter, is delicious. Triangular croûtons of fried bread, stuck round the edges of the dish just before serving, are a better accompaniment than potatoes. Peas, green beans and spinach are all good with it.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (½ kg) cooked lamb, cut in ½inch (1 cm) dice, trimmed of all fat
  • ½ stick (60 g) butter
  • 1 lb (½ kg) carrots, cut across in very thin slices
  • 2 large onions, cut in very thin rings
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon mace
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • cups (6 dl) good stock or use a stock cube
  • cups (3 dl) dry, rough cider
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Method

Put half the butter into a large saucepan and fry the carrots and the onions, turning constantly for 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle in the rosemary, thyme, spices, pepper and salt. Stir in the flour and allow to cook for 30 seconds. Mix the stock and cider in slowly, stirring and turning the vegetables. Bring to the boil and boil fairly briskly for 25 minutes, stirring often. After 20 minutes melt the remaining butter in a frying-pan and gently fry the small cubes of lamb for about 3 to 4 minutes, turning and shaking them.

Check that the vegetables are tender and the sauce well seasoned. Pour into a shallow, fireproof serving dish and put the cubes of lamb on top of the sauce and vegetables. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately, or keep hot for not more than a few minutes before sprinkling with parsley and serving.

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