Chris Whitling: My Mother's Kitchen

Chris Whiting. Photos: Kelly Lindsay
Chris Whiting. Photos: Kelly Lindsay
The memory of the food that our mothers served us as children never leaves us, a comforting reminder of the maternal bond that resonates through our adult lives.

More than 70 New Zealand chefs, cooks, bakers and foodies have shared the stories and recipes of their childhood in the new publication My Mother’s Kitchen.

My nana made a beautiful soup with pork hock and if you were lucky enough to be at her house the next morning she'd fry up the leftover pork with potatoes and spinach and add a fried egg. These recipes were passed on to my mum, who would make the hash with leftover roast potatoes on Saturday mornings before we went off to rugby. I absolutely loved it.

Pork Hock Hash

Serves 6

Gluten free

Time - 45 minutes, plus 30 minutes to cook each batch, and 5 hours inactive


For the hock stock:
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bulb garlic, cloves peeled and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
500ml red wine
1 400g can whole peeled tomatoes
A few sprigs of thyme
1kg bone-in smoked pork hocks, or substitute 400g thick-cut dry-cured bacon

For the hash:
250ml white vinegar
100ml olive oil
1kg Agria potatoes, unpeeled, steamed or boiled until tender
1 red onion, sliced
6 handfuls pork hock meat from the stock, shredded into large chunks
6 organic free-range eggs
500g baby spinach
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chipotle sauce, from 1 100g can of La Morena chipotle chillies
Kewpie mayonnaise (or another plain mayonnaise)
6 pieces pork crackling, to garnish (optional)
Handful of watercress or another peppery salad leaf, to garnish
Pinch of togarashi threads (shredded dried red chilli), to garnish (optional)

Prepare the hock stock: Heat oil in a large stockpot for which you have a lid over a medium heat.

Add celery, carrot, onion, and garlic and cook for 10-12 minutes until vegetables are softened and onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.

Add tomato paste and cook a further 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add red wine and simmer for 10 minutes until thick and syrupy, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes and juice from the tin, thyme, and hocks.

Pour in enough water to cover and bring to the boil. Put on the lid, reduce the heat, and simmer for 3-4 hours until meat is falling off the bone.

Check the pot occasionally and top up with a little extra water if needed to cover the meat.

Remove hocks and set aside until cool enough to handle, then shred meat from the bone in large chunks. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Strain stock, cool, and refrigerate or freeze to use in a soup another time.

Leftover hock meat will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 4 days.

Prepare the hash
Preheat oven to 180degC. Pour vinegar into a large saucepan then top up with water to three-quarters full, and bring to a rolling boil. 

You will need to cook the hash in three batches to avoid overcrowding the pan; you could also have more than one frying pan on the heat at once.

To cook two servings, heat one-third of the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over a high heat. Break up one-third of the potatoes into rough pieces and add to pan. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook potatoes on one side for about 5 minutes until golden and very crispy. Push potatoes to the back of the pan (by the handle) and place one-third of the onion and hock meat at the front of the pan.

Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes until onions are softened, stirring occasionally. Either flip onions and hock up on to the potatoes, or use tongs to combine.

Place pan in oven for 5 minutes. After the pan has been in the oven for 2 minutes, crack 2 eggs into saucepan of water and vinegar and poach for 3-4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a clean towel.

Once the pan has been in the oven for 5 minutes remove and return to a high heat on the stovetop.

Recipe © Chris Whiting. Reproduced from My Mother’s Kitchen, published by Potton & Burton, available nationwide.
Recipe © Chris Whiting. Reproduced from My Mother’s Kitchen, published by Potton & Burton, available nationwide.

Stir in one-third of the spinach until wilted and season hash with salt and pepper.

To serve, spread 1-2 teaspoons of chipotle sauce on to the bottom of each plate. Top with a layer of hash, then a generous squiggle of mayonnaise.

Divide remaining hash on top and add an egg, crackling if using, and watercress to each plate. Garnish with togarashi and serve immediately. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Prepare the stock 1-2 days in advance, so that on the day of cooking the pork meat is all ready to go.

Making the hash with broken, steamed or boiled potatoes gives you lots of craggy crunchy edges after they've cooked in the hot pan.

Match with Deep Creek Dusty Gringo India Brown Ale.

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