Sweet & hot braised hare with fried polenta

Sweet & hot braised hare with fried polenta

A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

This is another mistake/experiment/leftovers meal that worked so well I now cook it over and over again. I can’t stand food wastage. I get really mad when my kids don’t finish their dinner. I’ll sit and wait alone with them at the dinner table until the meal is finished. It’s not like I’m force-feeding my kids, I’m just persevering with them, opening them up to eating different types of foods, especially vegetables. Man, that’s often a challenge with my kids! I hope they read this one day and realise that all my hard work getting them to try different foods might have been worth it.

Because of this, I’ve got into the habit of serving smaller meals at dinner, which means I often have leftovers that end up in the fridge. Polenta is one of those things that if I’m going to stand at a stove for 45 minutes stirring what’s basically a big pot of corn glue, then I’m going to make a decent batch. I love polenta the day after. I ladle the leftovers onto trays and they cool overnight. I can then cut them into chunks and fry them until golden and crispy. They can be served with almost anything, meat or veg, but here I’m going to include a hare recipe that worked really well. It’s a bit sweet and a bit hot, but a lot yum.

Hunting hare should be described as accidental hunting. I rarely go out targeting hare. I’m always just hunting something else and then I see a hare and take the gift from nature. It’s a stunning wild meat. Tastes almost like a deer crossed with a lamb. I’d buy that for a dollar!


Quantity Ingredient
oil, for shallow-frying
polenta squares, (made using leftover polenta)
sour cream, to serve
habanero sauce, to serve

Braised hare

Quantity Ingredient
1 hare
60ml olive oil
7 onions, chopped
125ml fino sherry
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon smoked pimenton
1 teaspoon chilli powder
4 bay leaves
4 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
3 tablespoons honey
30g butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Quarter the hare. Don’t get the butcher to do it. Do it yourself. It’s easy. Just cut around the meat of the legs where the leg joins the body, all the way down to the bone. (Stop cutting at this point otherwise you’ll blunt your knife.) Snap the leg off from the joint. See, easy! Apply the same process to the other legs. (While you’re there, cut out the backstraps by slicing along the spine and then scraping the meat off the ribs with your knife until you have a tenderloin fillet. Keep the legs for making this dish.
  3. Heat half the olive oil in a heavy-based flameproof casserole dish over medium heat on the stove top and brown the onion.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and brown the hare legs on all sides for a minute each side. Transfer the hare to the casserole dish.
  5. Deglaze the frying pan with the sherry and pour it into the casserole dish, followed by the spices, herbs, honey and enough water to half-cover the meat. Pop the lid on, place in the oven, turn the heat down to 150°C and cook for 2 hours, then turn the meat over and cook for a further 2 hours. This will ensure the meat not initially in the water doesn’t dry out. The meat is done when it comes away from the bone.
  6. Remove the meat from the dish and cool a little, then remove the meat from the bones, discarding the bones and setting aside the meat.
  7. Return the casserole dish to the stove top over medium heat and reduce the gravy.
  8. Remove the bay leaves and melt in the butter, then return the meat to the dish.
  9. Heat some cooking oil in a frying pan and fry the squares of polenta in batches until golden brown on both sides. Lay the polenta on paper towel to drain off any excess oil while you cook the next batch.
  10. Divide your polenta among the plates, ladle over the meat, and top with a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of your finest habanero sauce.
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