Recipe: Jugged Hare
It's Winter here now and I'm trying a hearty warm-the-blood recipe from 1747. Hannah Glasse (1708-1770) wrote The Art of Cookery, Made Plain in 1747. Her book was written for the common cook to help in the preparation of economical meals. Glasse abandoned the "high polite" of most cookbooks of the time to offer recipes and meal preparation advice to anyone "who can but read." Her book became the most popular cookbook of the eighteenth century.
Jugged hare is the sort of meal created after a successful hunt (or poaching expedition). The meat is indeed cooked in a ceramic jug, in juices, over a fire, not unlike using a Moroccan tagine. Unsurprisingly, Moroccan cooking was not common in Regency England, but heart winter meals certainly were.
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
If you didn't buy your rabbit from a butcher like I did, the first step is for you:
Step 1: First, joint the hare as evenly as you can.
Step 2: Marinade the hare in the red wine, beef stock and bay leaves for anywhere between 5 to 36 hours. If the hare isn’t fully submerged in the marinade, turn it regularly so it colours evenly.
Step 3: Heat the butter in a thick-based casserole dish (choose one with a tightly fitting lid). Remove the hare from the marinade (reserving the marinade) and brown it in the butter, long enough to sear the outside of the meat but not so long that the hare starts to cook. Remove the hare from the pan. Set to one side,
Step 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.
Add your reserved marinade to the pan, keeping back 5 tablespoons for later. Bring it to a quick boil for 2 minutes.
Step 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
Step 7: Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1
Step 8: Place the lid tightly on the casserole dish and cook in the oven for 3 1/2 hours.
Step 9: Add your 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.