Hare can be difficult to come across unless you live in the countryside or shoot. However they can be ordered in advance from game dealers or butchers. Hare are rather bloody to prepare (the blood can be saved to make Jugged Hare and adds a silken richness to gravy) so asking the butcher for a ready-jointed hare can be a good idea. Traditionally, hare should be hung undrawn; guts still inside, for 7 – 10 days to enhance its flavour and to tenderize the meat. However, this can make the meat very gamey so nowadays hare is usually hung with its insides removed. The saddle of a hare is tender enough to roast and is usually large enough for 2 people.
1 saddle Hare
150 ml red Wine
1 tbsp white wine Vinegar
1tbsp sunflower oil
2 sprigs Thyme
2 Bay leaves
2 rashers smoked Bacon
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C or Gas Mark 6
Remove the thick silver skin from the saddle using a sharp knife.
Make a marinade by combining the wine, vinegar and oil with the peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves. Pour this over the saddle in a small dish so that as much as possible is covered with the marinade. Cover the dish and leave in a cool place for 24 hours, turning occasionally.
Lift out the hare and pat dry on some kitchen roll, reserving the marinade for later. Now roll the saddle in seasoned flour. Heat the butter in a flameproof dish, brown the saddle on all sides. Place the bacon length ways along the saddle and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the saddle from the oven. Remove the bacon and cut in half across the spine, using a large, sharp knife and keep warm. Chop the bacon and return to the oven until crispy.
Strain the marinade into the cooking dish to de glaze. Bring to the boil and allow to reduce by half. Season to taste and pour into a gravy boat.
Sprinkle the crispy bacon on top of the saddle and serve with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables with the sauce. Red currant jelly as an accompaniment would be perfect.
This is a ‘Bordeaux Superieur’ and wines from this appellation have stricter production norms. As a result these wines are generally more complex and have better ageing potential. Oddly enough the chateau’s very name has a link to the hare. Roc de Levraut is Old Gascon and translates as the ‘Chateau of the Hare’s Rock.’ This is a velvety smooth wine with well integrated tannins and flavours of blackcurrant, vanilla, liquorice, redcurrant and cherry. It’s a perfect food wine and will enhance this dish beautifully”.
Les Petits Moines comes from the Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux appellation and wines from this region are well worth seeking out and are often powerful, aromatic wines that develop notes of spice as they age. Chateau Les Petits Moines is no exception – the 2009 was awarded a gold medal in the Bordeaux Challenge International du Vin in May 2011. Les Petits Moines is an impressive wine that offers superb value for money considering its quality. The 2009 is a deep dense garnet red wine, well balanced, silky and very well structured with layers of blackcurrant, rich red fruits and oak followed by hints of cloves, rosemary and spice.
Chateau Des Trois Tours is an ancient fortified estate and with its three remaining towers, defensive walls and moat it’s actually one of the oldest local properties. Jeanne d’Albret, Queen of Navarre, stayed there several times with her son, the future King Henry IV of France. Chateau Des Trois Tours has an intense bouquet and flavours of ripe blackberry, coffee, raspberry and vanilla; and a hint of oak coupled with a very fine long liquorice finish. The wine is a deep dark garnet colour with well balanced, silky tannins. Des Trois Tours ages well and is a seductive wine being supple with good complexity and depth.