Some of the simplest combinations make surprisingly delicious dishes. This week’s recipe isn’t really a recipe at all because you could use so many different combinations of ingredients to come up with your own dish. It’s really just about having the confidence to give things a try. So, for instance, we serve this using roasted bacon loin but there’s nothing to stop you using cubes of roast pork or pieces of pancetta or even slices of nice sausages. Then again you could use cooked carrot instead of beetroot or maybe add a little cooked swede. The main thing is to get the seasoning right. If the meat’s salty, as bacon loin can be, then don’t add salt; at least not until you’ve tasted the finished dish.
One uncooked beetroot – about the size of a tennis ball
Eight shallots – peeled
900g piece of unsmoked back bacon – cut into cubes
Two or three new potatoes per person
Rapeseed oil for frying plus a knob of butter for finishing
Freshly-ground black pepper and, possibly, some salt
Four free-range eggs
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, gas 7
Prepare the beetroot by trimming the stalk but leaving about an inch. Carefully wash under running water but be careful not to break the skin. Pat dry and brush with a little oil before placing on a baking tray. Brush the shallots with oil, add them to the tray and place in the oven. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes before removing and allowing to cool a little.
While they’re roasting, Boil the potatoes without peeling them, until tender. Drain and allow to cool a little.
When cool enough to handle, remove the peel from the beetroot and chop into cubes. Chop the potatoes into cubes and cut the shallots in half.
Heat a large frying pan and add a little oil. When hot, add the cubed bacon, turn the heat down to medium and fry, turning occasionally, until cooked through – about five to ten minutes depending on the size of the cubes. Turn the heat up a bit and add the potatoes and beetroot, again turning occasionally, and allow to brown a little before adding the shallots and a knob of butter. Season everything with a couple of shakes of Worcester Sauce and a few grinds of pepper before tasting and adding more of each, plus a little salt, if necessary.
Cover the pan to keep everything warm while you poach the eggs in simmering water. To serve, spoon the hash onto warm plates and place the poached eggs on top.