It is British Pie Week 2011 folks (7th to 13th March) and we decided to commemorate this event by baking a succulent hare pie cooked with garlic, bouquet garni, bacon lardons, onion and a glass of brandy.
Hare, like most game, can be a tricky to cook well, as wild animals are less sedentary than farm livestock and therefore carry more muscle. For this reason, the tenderising process is of the utmost importance to prevent the meat from becoming tough and chewy.
Of course, you can obviously buy pre-made pastry in the shops if you are short on time.
We served the hare pie with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables.
For the filling
- 900g Hare meat, diced
- 150g Bacon lardons
- 2 medium onions
- 1 glass brandy
- 3 cloves garlic
- A bouquet garni of 2 bay leaves, 3 sprigs of thyme and a sprig of rosemary
- 400ml boiling water
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Salt and black pepper
For the pastry
- 200g butter, cut into 1cm cubes and stored in the freezer for a couple of hours before using
- 200g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp ice cold water
- 1 egg, beaten
- Add some seasoning to the flour and coat the hare meat with the flour in a bowl.
- Heat a pot to a medium to high heat, add the oil and then the meat and cook for two minutes until it has browned.
- Add the lardons and cook for a further minute then remove from the heat.
- Add the onions, garlic, bouquet garni, brandy and water.
- Return the pot to the heat and bring to a gentle boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce to a gentle simmer and place a lid on the pot and leave for an hour.
- Whilst it is simmering, tip the flour for the pastry onto a clean dry work surface and add the butter to it.
- Using a fork, “cut in” the butter into the flour until it is mixed together and there are no pieces larger than a pea. Be careful not to touch dough with your hands as the key is keeping the butter cold.
- Collect the flour and butter mixture together and form a well in the middle. Add the water 1 tbsp at a time and mix to form a dough.
- Carefully bring it together with your hands into a ball and try not to knead it or hold it more than you need to. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pie filling from the heat and use a colander to drain the excess liquid into a saucepan. Heat the liquid on a gentle simmer until it has reduced by half.
- Take the pastry from the fridge and roll it to about 3/4cm thick. Line the bottom of an oven proof dish with the rolled pastry.
- Cut the excess from the edge, collect together and leave to one side as this will form the top of the pie.
- Add the meat mixture to the dish and pour over half of the reduced cooking liquid.
- Roll the remainder of the pastry and place on top of the meat. Use a knife to cut a couple of slits for the steam to vent as it cooks in the oven. Crimp the edges to form a seal and brush over with the egg wash.
- Place into a preheated oven at 200C/350F for 20 minutes until the crust is golden.
|Wine Paring||St Hallett Gamekeeper's Reserve 2009 Barossa Valley, South Australia
(£8.54 from Waitrose)
The spicy nature of the Shiraz combined with the ripe fruitiness of the Grenache and Touriga grapes provide a perfect blend for the rich flavour of the hare.
I'll stop rabbiting on now and allow you to enjoy the pie!