Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wild Hare Braised In Beer

My life has kind of changed recently. My boyfriend finished his studies and got his first job in Outdoor Education. We had decided we'd move to wherever he found a suitable job. So now here we are living in a new town, Hanmer Springs. It's not too far from where we used to live in the South Island, four hours away, but our lifestyles have changed a lot. We're no longer living in the city, we're living amongst a forest camp nestled in an exotic forest. 

Even though I've been here a month, I still find it a novelty to have a forest on my doorstep. After work I can go out and pick wild blackberries and cherries,  go hunting, attempt one of the many mountain bike tracks, go mushroom spotting (not confident enough to pick them yet), or just generally commune with nature and say hi to my buddies the fantails. It's also been great getting to mix with all the travellers that move through the place. I've made crepes with a French woman and apple strudel with a German, I guess food is a universal language. It's also a universal currency too; I let a customer borrow my salt and pepper, and he paid me back in whitebait fritters. They were delicious.

Speaking of delicious, I guess I should get back to today's recipe. It features hare. Now I'd never eaten hare before, but I'd had rabbit and enjoyed it and expected it to taste the same. I was wrong. The hare had a more subtle taste, less gamey, and was much more tender. I'd now pick it over rabbit any day. I guess it's probably not something you'd come across very often (unless you hunt or know people who do), but it's great option if you're into eating bunnies. They are a pest after all!


A few rashers of fatty bacon
1 hare, cleaned and jointed
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 onions cut into wedges
Sprigs of fresh herbs
1 cup of beer
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar


Cut bacon into pieces, lay them in a roasting pan. Put it into an oven preheated to 200 Celsius. Cook until done, remove the bacon and set it aside. Leave the bacon fat in the roasting tray.
Season the hare with salt and pepper then toss in flour until coated. Place the hare in the roasting pan, coat the pieces in bacon fat. Add the onions and fresh herbs.
Place tray in oven and cook for 15 minutes, turning once or twice.
Mix beer, mustard and brown sugar and pour into the pan.
Lower heat to 180 Celsius, cook for another 30 minutes, baste frequently.
Serve as is, or you can make a gravy using the pan juices. To make gravy I just heat the pan juices in a saucepan. Then I mix a tablespoon of flour with a tablespoon of butter to form a paste, and drop in blobs of the paste to the saucepan, making sure to whisk thoroughly.

Serves 4