LEBRE CON CASTAÑAS (HARE WITH CHESTNUTS)
As i have mentioned in the past, am a firm believer in being able to deal directly with whatever it is you choose to eat…especially meat. My mum (a professional chef for more than 50 years now) was given a brace of wild hare recently and this is how she chose to deal with them.
Having already been hung for a few days for the meat to mature, you must skin your hare (it has already been gutted – you do this in the field directly after you have killed it – just as you should to with venison). You split the skin at one hind leg and run the slit along to the other back leg, cutting off the tail as you go…then you pull the skin down, this should allow you to pull it all off with a bit of effort right down to the head. I am for chopping off the head personally, in the butchers where i sometimes live in Italy they like to display their rabbits skinned, head in tact, with eyes…well it’s all a bit too David Lynch even for me!
So, now you joint your hare and marinade it overnight in some good olive oil, white wine (v important that it’s white for the marinade as it helps to draw any remaining blood from the hare), red wine, fresh parsley, chopped onion, carrot and celery and some black pepper…
Shake off the marinade and roll your jointed hare in some seasoned flour and brown well in a heavy based frying pan.
In another roomy casserole gently saute some chopped onion, leek, garlic, celery, carrots and red pepper till softened. Add your browned meat to the casserole, meanwhile de-glaze the frying pan with some dry white sherry (Tio Pepe is excellent), some red wine and add a tablespoon or so of the seasoned flour mixture along with a tablespoon of sweet Spanish paprika.
Add this to the casserole along with some good stock and allow to come to the boil, salt to taste and place in a slow oven for around 2 and a hall hours or until the meat is tender.
When the casserole is almost done you can add a generous splash of port to the dish along with some whole chestnuts (frozen are fine) cook for five minutes and then garnish…
Garnish the dish with croutons made from bread and potatoes…
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