Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Jugging Hare

Still busy working lots and messing about outdoors relatively little. However, a while back we managed a morning duck hunt followed by a walk for quail. While on that quail hunt, a fine black-tailed jackrabbit jumped up beside me and took off to the rear. I had just been talking to someone about the fact that I'd been intending to try eating a jackrabbit for some time using one of the many European hare recipes, so as soon as this guy hit the top of a leap and before he got too far out, I gave him the top barrel, trying for mostly head.

Once back home, we skinned and dressed the fairly large buck jack rabbit. Abandoning a chance at true authenticity, I failed to save the blood for thickening my sauce. Nonetheless, I marinated the legs over night in red wine, onion, and herbs in a combination of the recipes from The River Cottage Cookbook and Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast. The saddles I boned out, yielding a surprising amount of meat in two fillets.

I browned the legs and then set them in the oven for a long braise with wine, stock and mirepoix. I then deboned the meat and reduced the sauce before returning the meat to it, again following Fearnley-Whittingstall and Henderson for the most part.

The saddle fillets I rubbed with a bit of salt and cracked black pepper, then seared in a hot cast iron skillet and rested in a warm oven, making a quick red wine sauce (not quite bordelaise, lacking demi-glace) in the same skillet. We accompanied all this with braised red cabbage, mashed parsnips, and crispy roasted potato wedges. Hare 2 ways:

So, how was it? Very good- surprisingly sweet and somewhat reminiscent of mourning dove. I was a bit concerned while dressing out the jack- he was a big one and smelled quite strong. None of that could be found in the final result, with the saddles providing the most distinct flavor but still quite mild. Also, there was a surprising amount of meat on him- I'll take the occasional jack in the future as more than an experiment. Definitely worth a try for a winter evening's meal or three.