Jugged hare

2
4 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 hare, skinned and gutted
  • 750ml of red wine
  • 350ml of beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 50g of butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 carrot, roughly diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 6 juniper berries, dried
  • 1 sprig of thyme, large
  • 2 tsp cornflour

Method

1
First, joint the hare. I did this in a way that both diners would have one generous-sized thigh portion and a smaller leg bone each. I then cut each side of the saddle into three large chunks, so they wouldn’t shrink too small during cooking and get lost in the gravy
2
Marinade the hare in the red wine, beef stock and bay leaves for anywhere between 5 and 36 hours. If the hare isn’t fully submerged, remember to turn it from time to time so that it colours evenly
3
Heat the butter in a thick-based casserole dish (choose one which has a tightly fitting lid). Remove the hare from the marinade (reserving the marinade) and brown it in the butter, long enough to colour the outside of the hare but not so long that the meat starts to cook through. Remove the hare from the pan and set to one side
4
If needed, add a little more butter to the casserole dish. Soften the onions, celery and carrots for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes
5
Add most of the reserved marinade to the pan, keeping back 5 tablespoons for later. Bring it to a quick boil for 2 minutes
6
Turn down the temperature and return the hare to the pan. While the hare is on a slow simmer on the hob, grind the black pepper and juniper berries in a pestle and mortar or a dry spice grinder. Add to the pan along with a teaspoon of salt, the thyme, and bay leaves from the marinade
7
Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1
8
Place the lid tightly on the casserole dish and cook in the oven for 3 1/2 hours
9
Add the cornflour to the 5 tablespoons of reserved marinade and stir. Remove the hare from the oven and stir in the cornflour mixture to thicken the sauce a little and introduce a nice sheen