Lepre in Dolce e Forte

Hare in strong sweet sauce

This classic way of cooking both boar and hare requires a strong wild meat. The quantities are for the more readily available hare. The dish has a strange, exotic taste and is much better made the day before it is required. Be sure of your guest’s capabilities before serving it - it is definitely not nouvelle cuisine.

Ingredients

  • 1 large hare, cleaned
  • 2 oz/50 g pancetta, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • good beef or chicken stock
  • olive oil
  • 11 oz/300 g tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • large wineglass white wine
  • 2 crumbled bay leaves

Marinade

  • 1 pt/½ ltr white wine
  • wineglass of white wine vinegar
  • onion stuck with 4 cloves
  • celery stick, sliced
  • carrot, sliced
  • clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 6 peppercorns

Salsa Agrodolce

  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 oz/50 g bitter cooking chocolate
  • oz/40 g raisins, soaked
  • oz/60 g pinenuts
  • 2 tbsp mixed candied lemon and orange peel

Method

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade. Cut the hare in pieces, wash well and cover with the marinade for 24 hours, stirring often. Drain, wash and dry the hare. Heat a little oil in a flame proof casserole, add the thyme, parsley, bay leaves & finely chopped pancetta & soften. Then add the hare & saute well. Add salt, pour in a glass of wine & when it has evaporated add the tomatoes. Cover & cook slowly over a low heat for at least 2 hours, adding hot stock, as needed to stop the stew drying out. About half an hour before the hare has finished cooking, melt the sugar with water over low heat until slightly brown. Add the chocolate melted in the vinegar, and after a few minutes the raisins, pine nuts & peel. Mix well & take from the heat. Remove hare from the liquid, & sieve or liquidize the remaining juices. Return meat & sauce to the casserole & slowly add the agrodolce. Heat through for 10 minutes & serve with a crisp borage salad.