A delicious casserole of hare, Hasenpfeffer (hah-sen-feff-er) is ideal as a main course for a dinner party – providing you know your guests’ tastes. Serve the hare with Glazed Carrots, broccoli and steamed potatoes. This dish may be made the day before it is needed, allowed to cool and refrigerated overnight. If hare is unobtainable, rabbit may be used instead and the cooking time reduced by about

20 minutes.8 bacon slices

½ teaspoon salt f teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

3 oz. flour

1 x

5 lb. hare, cleaned, skinned and cut into serving pieces

1 tablespoon butter medium-sized onion, finely chopped garlic cloves, crushed

2 spring onions , cut into rings

8 fl. oz. dry red wine

6 fl. oz. chicken stock

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 tablespoon cranberry sauce

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram

½ teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon

½ teaspoon dried oregano grated rind of

½ lemon

Preheat the grill to moderate.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Place the bacon slices on the grill rack and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until they are crisp and golden brown. Remove the bacon slices from the rack and drain them on kitchen paper towels.. Set aside. Pour the fat from the grill pan into a large frying-pan. Set aside.

Sift the salt, pepper, half the thyme and the flour on to a plate. Roll the pieces of hare in the flour mixture to coat them well on both sides. Shake off any excess flour.

Heat the bacon fat with the butter in the frying-pan over moderate heat. Add the hare pieces to the pan and fry them quickly for 3 to 5 minutes or until they are well browned on both sides.

With tongs, remove the hare pieces from the pan and place them in a large ovenproof casserole.

Add the onion and garlic to the frying-pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the spring onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the onion, garlic and spring onions from the pan to the casserole.

Pour off the fat from the frying-pan and discard it. Pour the wine, stock and sherry into the pan. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to the boil, stirring frequently. Stir in the cranberry sauce, parsley, marjoram, tarragon, oregano, lemon rind and the remaining thyme. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the liquid over the hare mixture in the casserole.

Crumble the bacon slices into the casserole. Cover the casserole and place it in the oven. Braise for 2½ hours or until the hare is very tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.

Remove the casserole from the oven and serve immediately, in the casserole.

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