Red Mist Leisure and Hogs Back Brewery put ‘Poor Man’s Asparagus’ on the Menu

A lamb dish featuring both hop shoots and hop flavoured bread has seen The Duke of Cambridge pub in Farnham win a menu competition designed to promote hop shoots.

We supplied hop shoots from our own hop garden to chefs at five pubs operated by Red Mist Leisure, and challenged them to develop a new dish using the shoots. The end tips of the shoots were once known as ‘poor man’s asparagus’.

The Duke of Cambridge head chef Jay Williams created Hop Smørrebrød, featuring a rare saddle of lamb served with hop shoots sautéed in beurre noisette, along with salsa verde and marinated anchovies, served on home baked focaccia bread infused with Cascade hops and leavened with brewers yeast.

Jay said: “Smørrebrød is a style of Danish open sandwich, and infusing my bread with Hogs Back hops put the hop flavour right at the heart of the dish. The spicy Cascade hops worked very well with the peppery flavour of the hop shoots, and complemented the lamb beautifully.

“We served the dish as a special on the pub’s menu and there was plenty of interest. The Hogs Back Brewery and its hop garden are just a couple of miles down the road from the pub, and our diners were fascinated to be trying a traditional, local ingredient.”

The runners-up prize went to Adam Sullens, head chef at The Queen’s Head in East Clandon, for his Hop Shoot and Parmesan Gnocchi served with locally picked Secretts’ asparagus, wild mushroom Hogs Back Hazy Hog cider sauce, crispy Parma ham & hop shoot dressing.

Jay’s winning Smørrebrød will be back on the menu at The Duke of Cambridge over the May Bank Holiday weekend, 29 April to 1 May, to mark the pub’s success in the competition.

Both the Fuggles hops which provided the hop shoots and the Cascade hops in Jay’s bread are grown in the 3.5 acre hop garden, adjacent to our brewery in Tongham. Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson said: “Hop growing was once a major part of Surrey’s economy, and hop shoots, or poor man’s asparagus, were a rural delicacy. Having revived the growing tradition with our hop garden, we’re delighted to be working with Red Mist Leisure’s pubs once again to bring back hop shoots as a fresh, local ingredient in great pub food.

“All the recipes were interesting and imaginative, and we particularly liked the hop Smørrebrød because it made the flavour of hops a focus of the dish.”

Mark Robson, co-founder of Red Mist Leisure, said: “The hop shoot competition brings out the best in our chefs, and all the dishes entered this year were very popular. Our customers love to see local food and drink served on offer in our pubs.

“We’re looking forward to serving the Smørrebrød again at The Duke of Cambridge over the Bank Holiday weekend, and will be encouraging customers to enjoy it accompanied by great Hogs Back Brewery beers such as TEA and Hogstar Lager or perhaps a Hazy Hog cider to complement the flavours of the sauce.”

There’s plenty going on in our hop garden, in preparation for the hop harvest in late summer. Members of the brewery’s loyalty TEA Club are helping out to ‘twiddle’ the hop bines round the poles this week, and the brewery shop is also offering customers a taste of pickled hop shoots. Produced to a traditional recipe, these are steeped in Hopping Hog IPA – the perfect snack to enjoy with the many draught beers available to taste in the brewery shop.