This is a photo of a segmented hare ready to braise. The hare has been sitting in my freezer for about 6 weeks, but because it is very hard to find, I buy when I see it, irrespective of whether I am ready to cook it or not.
I chose an Ada Boni recipe for cooking hare in the Piedmontese style (recipe from Italian Regional Cooking, Bonanza Books 1995). Boni’s recipe is slightly different to other Piedmontese style recipes recipes I looked at and it includes cognac; other recipes may also contain any of the following ingredients, for example: cinnamon, garlic, rosemary and juniper berries.
I use recipes as a guide and I alter quantities and ingredients to suit my tastes. I like spices and herbs and increased the quantities; I prefer and used fresh herbs rather than the dry suggested in the recipe. Both Barolo and Barbera are wines of Piedmont and understandably Boni suggests using Barbera for the marinade wine, but I used a good quality Australian red wine and chose to drink the Italian. Chocolate smooths out the sauce and I used a greater amount than suggested and rather than adding 4 teaspoons of sugar I added very little sugar; I like using stock and added some to the braising liquid.
I have not used Ada Boni’s words, but the procedure for preparing the hare is more or less what she suggests.
In Australia I have yet to purchase a hare with its liver, heart, little alone its blood – these are used to thicken the sauce towards the end of cooking.
I have written about hare before. See:
Interestingly enough, Alex the small friend in the photograph is now very much grown up.
Use an earthenware bowl for the marinade and a heavy bottomed saucepan with a well sealing lid to braise the hare.
Being a Piedmontese recipe, plain polenta makes a good accompaniment.1 hare cut into pieces (4 legs, back cut into 3 pieces, ribs into 3), 1 and 1/2 bottles of red wine- use enough to cover the hare (Barbera is preferable), 2-3 carrots, 2 large onions (1 for marinade, 1 for sautéing) 3 stalks of celery, 2 bay leaves, 3-4 black peppercorns, 3 cloves, pinch of marjoram, and pinch of thyme, salt to taste, 2 tablespoon of butter, ¼ cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of bacon fat cut into small pieces (I think that lardo or speck is intended – I used the fat from prosciutto, same taste and texture), 1 square of bitter chocolate, grated, 4 teaspoon of sugar, 3-4 tablespoons of cognac.