Jugged Hare

There is an English children’s story in which the hare explains his superiority to the rabbit in the animal kingdom. ‘When we are caught? the hare explains, ‘we are jugged {cooked slowly in wine), while rabbits are merely popped {into a pie).’

Jugging is the traditional English way to cook hare and it produces a tender and delicious stew.

Although blood of the hare is usually reserved and added to the stew, an extra

4 fluid ounces of port may be substituted for the squeamish! Serve Jugged Hare with boiled parsley potatoes and a green vegetable, such as Brussels sprouts.

4-6

2 oz. seasoned flour, made with

2 oz. flour,

½ teaspoon salt and

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 x

4 to

5 lb. hare, skinned, blood reserved and cut into 6 serving pieces

2 oz. butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 streaky bacon slices, chopped

10 fl. oz. beef stock

10 fl. oz. dry red wine bouquet garni, consisting of parsley sprigs,

1 thyme spray and

1 bay leaf tied together

½ teaspoon salt

A traditional British dish, Jugged Hare is served with potatoes and a green vegetable such as Brussels sprouts.

½ teaspoon black pepper

8 oz. small onions, peeled

8 oz. button mushrooms, wiped clean 4 fl. oz. port ½ oz. beurre manie

Preheat the oven to cool 300°F (Gas Mark 2, 150°C).

Sprinkle the seasoned flour on to a plate. Dip the hare pieces in the flour to coat them thoroughly on all sides. Shake off any excess flour. Set the hare pieces aside.

In a large, heavy flameproof casserole, melt 1 ounce of the butter with the olive oil over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until it is crisp and well browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the casserole and drain it on kitchen paper towels. Set the bacon pieces aside.

Add the hare pieces to the casserole and cook, turning them occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are lightly and evenly browned on all sides.

Pour in the stock and wine and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and return the bacon to the casserole. Add the bouquet garni, salt and pepper and stir well to mix. Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven.

Braise the hare for 2 hours.

In a small saucepan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring and turning occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the onions and mushrooms to the cas-serole. Add the port to the casserole and return it to the oven.

Braise for a further 30 to 40 minutes, or until the meat is very tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.

Remove the casserole from the oven and, with slotted spoons or tongs, transfer the hare pieces and the vegetables to a warmed serving dish. Keep warm while you finish the sauce.

Strain the casserole liquid into a small saucepan. Add the reserved hare blood and place the saucepan over low heat. Stir in the beurre manie, a little at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon until it has dissolved. Cook the sauce gently, stirring constantly, until it is thick and smooth.

Pour the sauce over the hare and vegetables and serve at once.

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