Food & Drink

How to jug a hare

Sorry but summer is over. It's depressing but true.

You'll have to bury that barbecue for another year and modify your meals to something a little bit more autumnal. Which is why you really should learn how to jug a hare.

We spoke to James Lyon-Shaw, executive chef at The Jugged Hare, who shared his tips on one of the more under-appreciated culinary processes.

Serves: 8 -10

Ingredients

8 hare hind legs

1ltr red wine

4 juniper berries, chopped

1 bay leaf

A few sprigs of thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1tbsp flour, plus extra for dusting

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 onion, finely chopped

50g butter

1tbsp tomato purée

3 litres beef stock

300ml hare blood (ask your butcher to reserve this for you when he butchers the hare)

Method

1) Cut the hare legs in half at the joint and then cut them once more through the middle of the thigh, so you end up with 3 pieces from each leg.

2) Put the pieces into a non-reactive bowl or dish, together with the red wine, juniper berries, bay leaf and thyme. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.

3) Drain the hare in a colander over a bowl and pat the pieces dry with some kitchen paper.

4) Season the pieces of hare and lightly flour them, dusting off any excess.

5) Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan and fry the pieces, a few at a time, until well-coloured, then put to one side on a plate.

6) Meanwhile, in a heavy-based saucepan, gently cook the onion in the butter for 3-4 minutes until soft.

7) Add the tablespoon of flour and stir well over a medium heat until it begins to turn a sandy colour. Add the tomato purée, then slowly add the red wine and herbs from the marinade, stirring well to avoid lumps forming. Bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat until the liquid has reduced to half the volume.

8) Add the beef stock and hare, bring back to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour (or you can cook this in an oven that has been preheated to 160C/gas mark 3).

9) Remove a piece of meat to check if it's tender; if not, continue cooking for another 30 minutes or so.

10) Once the meat is tender, remove all the pieces of meat from the sauce and set aside.

11) Add the blood and continue to simmer the sauce until it has thickened to a gravy-like consistency, then return the pieces of meat to warm through until it's ready to serve. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.