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Food

Hare braised in Mirto

Preparation time
You’ll need a large, flame-proof baking dish for this recipe and you’ll need to start 1–2 days ahead to give the hare time to marinate.
Cooking time
Serves
4

Ingredients

  • 1 hare, skinned, gutted, head removed
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 50g butter
  • 2 bulbs baby fennel, washed well, diced
  • 4 stalks celery heart, diced
  • 1 golden shallot, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 150ml Cannonau (dry red wine)
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh bay leaves, for garnishing

Mirto Marinade

  • 300ml red mirto
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, bruised
  • 8 fresh bay leaves
  • 10 juniper berries
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Polenta

  • 1 litre water
  • 500ml milk
  • Salt flakes, to taste
  • 400g coarse polenta (see notes)
  • 80g aged Pecorino Sardo, freshly grated
  • 1 tbsp finely sliced flat-leaf parsley leaves

Method

  1. Cut hare into 13 pieces: 2 front legs, 2 back legs halved to give lower leg and thigh, 2 belly flaps, rib cage halved through the back bone, and loin cut into 3.
  2. Make Mirto marinade: combine all ingredients. Place hare in a shallow dish, pour over Mirto marinade, cover and refrigerate for 24–48 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Remove hare from the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Set aside in a cool place to come to room temperature. Remove hare pieces from marinade and pat dry, reserving the marinade. Dust pieces in flour, shaking off any excess.
  4. Heat a large, flame-proof baking dish over a high heat, add oil and butter. When butter starts to brown reduce heat to medium, add hare and cook, in batches if necessary, turning as needed, until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside on paper towel to drain.
  5. Discard any dark bits of flour in the pan. Add fennel, celery, shallot and garlic and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until soft and slightly coloured.
  6. Add reserved marinade, Cannonau and rosemary to the pan, bring to the boil and cook for a few minutes until reduced by half.
  7. Add stock and salt, return to the boil. Reduce heat to lowest setting, add pieces of hare in a single layer, cover loosely with foil and simmer for 2–2½ hours, turning occasionally, until the meat is falling off the bone. Uncover and simmer for a further 10 minutes, then remove meat and cover to keep warm. Increase heat and boil sauce for about 30 minutes until reduced by half. Add salt and pepper and return hare to sauce to warm through.
  8. Combine water, milk and salt in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, slowly ‘rain’ in the polenta with one hand while whisking constantly with the other hand. Once all of the polenta is added, cook for 40 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon every few minutes.
  9. Place polenta on a platter, arrange hare on top, pour sauce over, garnish with bay leaves and serve.
Food
Preparation time
You’ll need a large, flame-proof baking dish for this recipe and you’ll need to start 1–2 days ahead to give the hare time to marinate.
Cooking time
Serves
4

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