Casserole of Hare

Hare really benefits from long slow cooking in a casserole.
Serves: 6

300 ml Ruby port ( 1/2 pint)
6 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 Large Onion, sliced
2 Bay leaves
1 Hare, cut into serving pieces
25 Gram Butter (1 oz)
125 Gram Streaky bacon, cut into strips (5 oz)
16 Small Shallots
225 Gram Chestnut mushrooms, halved
25 Gram Plain flour (1 oz)
900 ml Game stock (1 1/2 pints)
2 Sprig Thyme
2 Sprig Parsley
Salt and Freshly ground black peppe
In a large bowl combine the port, 4 tablespoons of the oil, the onion and the bay leaves. Add the hare pieces, turn in the marinade, cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours.

Remove the hare from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Melt the butter with the remaining oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. When the butter is foaming, add the hare pieces and cook over a high heat until browned all over. Lift out and drain on kitchen paper.

Lower the heat, add the bacon and shallots and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually add the stock and bring to the boil, stirring until thickened.

Return the hare, bacon, shallots and mushrooms to the casserole with the strained marinade. Add the thyme, parsley and salt and pepper to taste and bring to the boil. Cover and cook in a preheated oven at 170 °C / 325 °F / Gas 3 for 2 hours.

Taste for seasoning. Garnish with thyme and serve at once.

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