Hare with Pine Nuts, Lemon and Sultanas
Step 1: Joint the hare, separating the front and back legs from the saddle. Trim the sinew from the saddle.
Step 2: To make the marinade for the hare, combine the onion, celery, rosemary, parsley and red wine with the hare.
Step 3: To make the marinade for the offal, combine the marinade ingredients. Dice the heart, lungs and liver (if no gall bladder is attached) and add to this marinade. Marinate both the hare and the offal in the refrigerator overnight.
Step 4: Drain and dry the hare, reserving the marinade. In a large enameled heavy-based casserole, gently brown the hare legs in 125ml olive oil over low-medium heat, then turn up the heat, add the vegetables from the marinade and cook at the high temperature until burnished, then add the marinade. Add the offal and its marinade and cook very, very slowly on the stove top over the lowest heat possible (use a simmer pad if you have one), turning the hare several times, for 2 – 4 hours. (As wild game is of an indeterminate age it is only by feel that you will know when each leg is tender.)
Step 5: Preheat the oven to 250°C.
Step 6: In a small enameled or stainless steel saucepan, slowly dissolve the sugar in the vinegar over low heat, then add the pine nuts and sultanas. Strain the liquid from the cooked hare legs into another saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat to reduce it if necessary – it should be think enough to coat the meat. (Alternatively, the vegetables and cooking liquid can be put through a food mill and returned to the pan to warm through.) Stir the vinegar syrup into the cooking juices, then check from balance and add the chocolate. Rub olive oil, salt and pepper into the saddle, then seal it over high heat in a heavy-based roasting pan on the stove. Transfer the dish to the oven and roast the saddle for 5 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven – if the meat is still ‘unset’ (it should be firm to touch), turn the saddle over and return it to the oven for another 3 minutes.
Step 7: Rest the meat for 10 minutes before serving. Carve the saddle and add it to the leg meat, then pour over the sauce. This dish is great served with parsnips.
4.0kg 1 hare including heart, lungs and liver
1 1/2 tbspn sugar
125ml 1/2 cup Aged Red Wine Vinegar
2 tbspn pine nut
2 tbspn sultanas
30g bitter chocolate
To taste freshly ground black pepper
To taste salt flakes