Hare

Hares and rabbits are plentiful in many areas, adapt to a wide variety of conditions, and reproduce quickly, so hunting is often less regulated than for other varieties of game. In rural areas of North America and particularly in pioneer times, they were a common source of meat. However, because of their extremely low fat content, they are a poor choice as a survival food.

Hares can be prepared in the same manner as rabbits—commonly roasted or taken apart for breading and frying.

Hasenpfeffer (also spelled Hasenfeffer) is a traditional German stew made from marinated rabbit or hare. Pfeffer is not only the name of a spice, but also of a dish where the animal’s blood is used as a gelling agent for the sauce. Wine or vinegar is also a prominent ingredient, to lend a sourness to the recipe.

Jugged hare (known as civet de lièvre in France), is a whole hare, cut into pieces, marinated, and cooked with red wine and juniper berries in a tall jug that stands in a pan of water. It traditionally is served with the hare’s blood (or the blood is added right at the very end of the cooking process) and port wine.

Jugged hare is described in the influential 18th century cookbook, The Art of Cookery by Hannah Glasse, with a recipe titled, “A Jugged Hare,” that begins, “Cut it into little pieces, lard them here and there….” The recipe goes on to describe cooking the pieces of hare in water in a jug that it set within a bath of boiling water to cook for three hours. Beginning in the nineteenth century, Glasse has been widely credited with having started the recipe with the words “First, catch your hare,” as in this citation.

However, having a freshly caught, or shot, hare enables one to obtain its blood. A freshly killed hare is prepared for jugging by removing its entrails and then hanging it in a larder by its hind legs, which causes the blood to accumulate in the chest cavity. One method of preserving the blood after draining it from the hare (since the hare itself is usually hung for a week or more) is to mix it with red wine vinegar to prevent itcoagulating, and then to store it in a freezer.

Many other British cookbooks from before the middle of the 20th century have recipes for jugged hare. Merle and Reitch have this to say about jugged hare, for example:

The best part of the hare, when roasted, is the loin and the thick part of the hind leg; the other parts are only fit for stewing, hashing, or jugging. It is usual to roast a hare first, and to stew or jug the portion which is not eaten the first day.

To Jug A Hare. This mode of cooking a hare is very desirable when there is any doubt as to its age, as an old hare, which would be otherwise uneatable, may be made into an agreeable dish.

In 2006, a survey of 2021 people for the television channel UKTV Food found that only 1.6% of the people aged under 25 recognized jugged hare by name. Seven of 10 of those people stated they would refuse to eat jugged hare if it were served at the house of a friend or a relative.

The hare (and in recent times, rabbit) is a staple of Maltese cuisine. The dish was presented to the island’s Grandmasters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta as well as Renaissance Inquisitors resident on the island, several of whom went on to become Pope.

According to Jewish tradition, the hare is among many of the mammals deemed not kosher, and therefore not eaten by observant Jews.

In England, a now rarely-served dish was potted hare. This was similar to the dish of potted shrimp, which can still be found today in some specialty restaurants. The hare meat is cooked, then covered in at least one inch (preferably more) of butter. The butter acts as a preservative, and the dish is stored for up to several months. It is served cold, often on bread or as an appetizer.