Hare galore!

In Baking, Main meals, Meat, Pie on April 11, 2012 at 3:04 am

Hare Pie

A while back my parents gave me hare to cook. I was quite taken with this idea, but having very little experience with cooking meat – I was a little nervous about doing so. However, a few days ago I decided to be bold and gave it a go. Today, after undertaking a few different hare dishes, and having eaten a criminal about of each – I decided it was high time I posted about the whole affair. Especially as I am too full to do anything else productive, like work on art or reading or hieroglpyhics…or anything remotely useful. But oh well!

My initial recipe came out of this gorgeous medieval cookbook that I found in the University of Auckland’s Fine Arts Library (of all places!).

Recipe (in its original format)

“Hare yn cyve. Smyte a hare in small pecys; perboyle hem yn swete broth with hys oun blode. Cast hym yn a cold watyr. Peke hym clene; do hym in a pott. Clarifye the broth clene; do thereto onyons & herbes mynsyd. Take hole clovys, macys & powdyr, & drow a thyn lyour of crustys with red wyne. Boyle hit tyl hit be ynowghe; sesyn hit up with powdyr of gynger, venyger & salt, & loke hit be a good colour of blod.”

(Don’t worry, they provided a ‘translation’ for this below the original)

I was able to follow it easily enough, but was a bit disappointed with the lack of instruction about how to actually cut up the hare. When you have no experience with cutting, preparing or cooking dead game animals and are faced with a floppy, juicy dead body….well, it’s a little intimidating. But in the end I just applied some common sense and made it up as I went along.

My dad had kindly already skinned the hare as well as removing its innards, so fortunately I did haven’t to deal with removing the feet and head (I don’t think I’m quite up to that yet) but I did find a few internal organs inside it that he had missed. Ooops! I then had to saw through the bones, removing the four leg joints and cutting down the middle of the spine, just before the hare’s ‘saddle.’ The recipe suggested that the rib cage was to be discarded (there’s not much meat there) but from memory I then sliced the remaining part of the torso in half again. There’s probably a much better and efficient way of slicing up a hare, but when you don’t own any decent meat knives (given that the majority of people living in my flat never cook meat) chances are it will be difficult irrespective of the method used. Apparently at this time one should also check for a membrane like covering around the back of the hare, but I think my dad must have already removed this because I couldn’t find any membrane to remove.

I then followed the recipe, the rest of it going smoothly enough. I’m afraid it’s not the most beautiful thing to look at, but here’s a photo of what it looked like in the pot.

I was freaked out by the lack of liquid in the recipe, and probably added a little more than was necessary…so it turned into even more of a stew. We ate this over mashed potatoes – sadly I don’t have any nice photos of that…..but it was surprisingly tender (I’d been told horror stories about chewy nasty hare) and the flavour wasn’t too strong either. So apart from it perhaps being a bit too liquid, I was pretty pleased with the meal overall. As a first attempt, anyway!

I had heaps of hare leftover, so was racking my brains of other tasty ways to use it. And then I reached the obvious conclusion – hare pie! I’m a self confessed pie fiend, so I got quite into making these pies – and as a result have stuffed myself silly with them today. Where are flatmates when you need them?

Hare mini pies

I made two types of pie, one large one and a set of mini pies. I’m not going to bother posting the recipe here, as I just made it up as I went along. Basically it was the hare stew, combined with some mashed potato, cooked mushrooms and some mushroom sea salt flakes. The pastry was just your general buttery pastry – I think I looked as a chicken pot pie pastry recipe as a reference, but ended up changing it…not quite sure about the exact proportions, but it did the trick!

Now for the larger pie!

So…in conclusion, would I cook hare again? Hell, yes! Most definitely. I like the flavour, I don’t know what people are talking about when they say the taste of hare is too ‘gamey’ or too strong. It was pretty tasty to me, especially when combined with buttery pastry. Next time I think I will try and turn it into a pasta sauce, seeing as I have an Italian recipe for one somewhere….

  1. […] to give cooking it another go. I more or less ended up doing the same two things with it that I did last time, but I definitely think this was a improvement! Though perhaps a bit more work. I got the recipe […]

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