There’s a Hare in my Ragu!

The game season has started in earnest with the arrival of Venison, Wild Duck & Hare in the kitchen at Moruzzis. The Italians have a long love affair for game & this regional Tuscan speciality hits the spot and makes good use of a very underrated ingredient.

Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers from the River Cafe featured it on their menus for years & my good friend Franco Taruschio had it on his menu at The Walnut Tree, so keeping in good company, we’ve put it on our Specials menu. It’s a great first game dish to learn to cook as it just needs long slow cooking after the initial marinating process is complete, with this in mind it’s a low maintenance recipe with very broad margins so as long as you look in on it from time to time you can’t really go wrong. The meat itself is very similar to venison in appearance & has a satisfying meaty texture, if you can’t get a Hare you could always do this Parppadelle dish with Venison, but I do recommend persisting with the Hare. A good butcher or game dealer should be able to get one & prep it for you if you’re squeamish. I got mine from Ricky John fishmongers in Neath market who has a good selection of game this time of year. 

Parppadelle is my favourite pasta, long thick ribbons soak up sauces superbly & coat nicely  with meat & vegetables. It makes a great supper dish which warms your soul, bringing with it a social consciousness of eating wild food that is ethical & sustainable.

Parppadelle with Hare

Serves 6

For the marinade:

1 bottle of Chianti Classico

1 head of garlic 

1 red onion, quartered

6 bay leaves

1 tablespoon of back peppercorns 

2 twigs of Rosemary 

1 large hare, jointed into small pieces (legs & saddle divided into 4 pieces)

100g of diced pancetta

100g of diced lardo 

4 tablespoons of olive oil 

Plain flour for dusting 

Maldon salt & freshly ground black pepper 

1 onion finely chopped, 1 carrot finely chopped, 3 celery stalks finely chopped.

3 garlic cloves bruised & finely chopped 

3 cloves 

6 juniper berries 

About 300g of fresh Parpadelle 

2 tablespoons of Parmegiano grated

Place all the pieces of Hare with marinade ingredients in a large deep dish so the meat is completely covered. Leave in a fridge for 24 hours. Remove the meat and pat dry. Strain the marinade liquid into a bowl & discard vegetables etc.

In a casserole dish heat half of the olive oil, dust the hare meat in flour and then fry in the hot oil until evenly browned, season liberally. Remove the meat and set aside on a tray. Lower the heat, pour the remaining oil into the pan, place in the pancetta & lardo, cook until the fat is released & evenly browned, then add the finely diced vegetables & garlic. Cook slowly to colour gently for about 15 minutes. Add the hare pieces into the pan, pour in the marinade stock, add the juniper berries & cloves , cover and cook in the oven on a low heat about 150 degrees C for an hour remove the saddle meat, cook the legs for a further 1 hour, then remove the meat & allow to cool. Pick all the meat from the bones, discard cloves & juniper berries. Roughly chop the hare meat & heat back in the sauce.

Cook Parpadelle in boiling salted water, drain, combine with the sauce & serve immediately with grated fresh Parmigiano.



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