Some things are just too good to pass up, especially a pair of hare legs for less than eight bucks! Hare is probably my favourite game meat, lean dark rich flesh. Cooked well it’s wonderfully soft and tender, but get it wrong it is quite frankly crap, either stringy and dry, tough as old boots, or make the the mistake of over cooking it can turn to mush. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a hard meat to cook, it’s just one that lets you know you did wrong by shouting at you. So when cooking take into consideration the leg muscle of the hare, it’s very lean and does a lot of work, so a slow braise is the best bet.
The bonus of it all is that hare meat has strong flavour that can stand up to some hefty complementary flavours, such as, in this case a good strong red wine, port sauce, and some awesome baby beetroot (greens and all, thank you for not chopping them off) as acompaniament.
You’re going to have to forgive the lack of measurements, as the best I could do for you is use enough of each ingredient and you won’t go wrong.
Salt & pepper
- Dredge the hare legs in some flour seasoned with hot paprika, salt and pepper, shaking of any excess flour.
- Brown the legs on all sides in a hot pan with a little olive oil.
- Lay the legs on a bed of thyme, bay leaf and juniper in a casserole dish.
- In the same pan sautée the onion, carrot and garlic until soft.
- Deglaze the pan with a splash of port and stir through some tomato paste and mustard.
- Pour in the red wine (enough to cover the hare in the dish you’re cooking them in), bring to a simmer.
- Pour over the hare.
- Cover the dish with a double layer of foil and cook at 160°C for 2–3 hours, until tender.
Peel beetroot and steam it until fork tender.
- Slice the beets paper thing (use a mandoline).
- Heat the vinegar with thyme and sugar until simmering.
- Pour the vinegar over the beet slice and let steep.
Really simple one, heat butter in pan until foamy, sautée the beet greens, done.
Bring 500ml Chicken stock to the boil, remove from the heat and whisk in 125 grams of instant polenta, keep whisking until thick, you may have to put it back on the heat for a couple of seconds, but usually it isn’t needed. Add half a tub of crème fraîche and whisk in until fully incorporated.
Spoon a pillow of polenta with the greens placed in the centre, deboned hare leg placed on top with the sieved cooking juices spooned over. Arrange beet purée and pickled beet slices around the plate.