Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hare delights

I've eaten plenty of rabbit over the years both in France and Australia, mostly farmed but some wild as well, but seldom eaten hare. The reason of course is that the meat is not as easily available, as hares cannot be farmed--solitary animals which range widely, they simply do not thrive in captivity, unlike their more sedentary cousins. But the other day we were lucky enough to get hold to get hold of some hare meat, and were able to try out a couple of recipes: a delicious hare stew, made from the most fleshy part of the animal, its saddle(the back and flanks) and a lovely terrine made from the other parts.
The hare meat was much denser and darker than rabbit, especially farmed rabbit, and it was very lean, with a rich but not particularly 'gamey' taste. Stewing seemed to bring out those flavours much more than roasting could have done(there'd have been a danger of the meat drying out.)Note that while the hare terrine can feed up to 8 people, the hare stew is just for two.These recipes could also be adapted for rabbit meat.
For the hare terrine: Two rashers bacon, about 500 g pork mince or 4 thick pure pork sausages opened up, back and front legs and other bits of hare, liver and heart of hare, two eggs, breadcrumbs, thyme, nutmeg, a little coriander seed, salt, pepper. First debone the hare meat and put the meat in a dish ready to mix with other stuff. Boil the bones up for stock(for next recipe). Cook the liver and heart. Now mix the cooked chopped liver and heart, the hare meat, pork mince, add the eggs, breadcrumbs, herbs and spices, salt and pepper. The terrine mixture needs to be not sloppy and not crumbly either but well mixed. Oil a log-shaped Pyrex or earthenware baking dish, drape one rasher bacon on bottom. fill dish with terrine mix and drape the bacon over the top, tucking in the sides. Cook in a bain-marie(standing in a dish part-filled with water)in a slow oven--175 C--for about 2 and a half hours. When cooked, let it sit in a cool place. Serve cold, sliced. (You can also serve it hot with a tomato sauce if you like, like a meatloaf, but it's even nicer cold, as a lunch dish or an entree.)
For the hare stew: 1 saddle of hare cut into two or four pieces, 2 rashers bacon, onion, garlic, sage, parsley, creme de cassis(blackcurrant liqueur) or similar, some hare stock(see above),a little oil to fry initially, salt, pepper.
First marinade the hare in the creme de cassis or similar liqueur(or even red wine)for a couple of hours. Fry the onion, the chopped up bacon, and then add the hare, without its marinade first. Add crushed garlic, herbs, and then the marinade. Add enough stock to cover. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until meat is tender. Serve with mashed potato(we made ours with lovely home-grown Tasmanian pink-eyes, which produce a gorgeous yellow fluffy mash)and sweet and sour red cabbage(cooked with brown sugar and vinegar, a little red wine and a little hare or beef stock.)

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