Dorset Harebit recipe

RECIPE: Dorset ‘Harebit’ with Hopping Hare Badger Beer

Tried and tested seasonal recipes from our country cookery school kitchen.  As well as hacks and get ahead tips for EVERY cook. 

This Dorset Harebit recipe was created to celebrate Beer Day in Britain.  Our version of this classic toasted cheese recipe, includes locally brewed beer.  We hope you’ll agree this adds a delicious twist to a family favourite.  The aromatic citrus notes of Badger Beer ‘Hopping Hare’ partner well with locally made cheddar.  Add a poached egg to easily turn this snack into a tasty lunch.

Serves 4

Snack or Brunch

Prepare 15 mins

Cook 10 mins

Total 25 mins

Dorset Harebit Recipe
Leveret Hare


  • 4 thick slices of sourdough


  • 25 g unsalted butter at room temperature – we like Yeo Valley 
  • 1 teaspoon of your favourite mustard – we like Tracklements
  • Pinch Dorset Sea Salt – finely ground
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 175 g Dorset Cheddar – grated
  • 30 ml Hopping Hare* from Badger Brewery


To poach eggs – scroll down for cooking tips


You will need:

  • 4 free range, organic eggs
  • Freshly boiled water
  • Teaspoon distilled vinegar
Hare in garden
Huge thanks to Frank Russell Design for the image. All other photographs by Lisa Osman  


In a bowl, beat together the butter, mustard, salt, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and cheddar. Combine well.  Add the beer and mix again.

Toast the sourdough on one side.

Divide the mixture into four and spread equally over the untoasted side of sourdough.

Poach eggs – see notes below.

Brown the cheese mixture under the grill or in the top of the AGA roasting oven.

Top with a poached egg and serve immediately.  Delicious enjoyed with gently wilted spinach for brunch.

Kitchen hacks & tips for the best poached eggs

  • Select the freshest eggs – ideally organic, free range
  • Prepare to poach one egg at a time in a deep saucepan filled with simmering water
  • The water should be a gentle simmer and not boiling rapidly
  • Do not move the pan whilst the egg white (albumen) is setting
  • First crack egg into an espresso coffee cup
  • Adding a teaspoon of distilled vinegar to the simmering water will help coagulate the egg white (albumen)
  • Next use a fork or whisk to make a vortex inside the pan of simmering water.  Holding the handle of the cup, with the lip touching the water, carefully ease the egg into the vortex
  • Do not move the pan whilst the egg white (albumen) is setting
  • To get ahead. Poached eggs can be partially cooked and then suspended in a bowl of cold, iced water.  Reheat in freshly boiled, hot water just before serving.  Partially cooked eggs should never be offered to the elderly, infirm, pregnant woman, babies or young children.

Waste not, Want not

Hopping Hare from Badger Beer is a deliciously, light and pale ale with a hint of sweet citrus.

We love to add a generous glug in the following recipes:


Red Onion Marmalade

In a heavy based pan with deep sides, melt 100 g butter and add 675 g thinly sliced red onions.  Stir the onions to evenly distribute melted butter.  Reduce heat and cover with a tightly fitting piece of baking parchment placed directly over the onions.  Slowly sweat until the onions are soft and melting.  Occasionally check and stir the pan to make sure that onions are not catching.  (Or, transfer covered pan to AGA simmering oven.)

Once soft, increase heat (or transfer to AGA boiling plate).  Add one teaspoon finely ground Dorset Sea Salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste – try Steenburgs and 175 g golden caster sugar.  Stir well whilst sugar is dissolving. Watch pan while onions caramelise to golden brown colour.

Add 100 ml cider vinegartry Aspall  and 225 ml Hopping Hare from Badger Beer. Reduce heat so that the pan doesn’t catch.  Continue to simmer uncovered (or transfer to AGA simmering oven) to reduce and thicken. Store onion marmalade in a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge for seven days.  We’ve shared more preserving notes in the blog.


Onion Marmalade is great with …

  • Spread inside a cheese sandwich to make a great tasting toastie.
  • Dollop a generous spoonful beside a thick slice of gammon ham.
  • Replace the onions or leeks to make a ‘speedy’ quiche
  • Add a spoonful to casseroles and ragouts for extra flavour
  • Serve alongside charcuterie and terrines for a tasty lunch or quick supper.

Other ideas…

Chicken & Leek Pot Pie – poach chicken pieces and replace half the stock with beer.  Sweat leeks in butter.  Reserve liquid and thicken to make a sauce.  Top with pastry and bake at 180 C

Gammon Ham – follow our classic recipe and replace apple juice with beer.



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