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Hare in Chocolate Sauce
Don't be alarmed by this combination, there's not much chocolate, but enough to give a certain character to the dish. Chocolate is a common ingredient in savoury dishes in Italy, Mexico and Spain.
Mashed potato is the best accompaniment, but in northern Italy, they'd use polenta.
Ingredients for 6 helpings:
1 Hare, jointed by your butcher (explain you'd like 12 pieces)
2 tablespoons (30ml) White Wine Vinegar
4 tablespoons (60ml) Flour
90gr/3 oz Butter
120gr/4 oz Streaky Bacon, cut into 1cm/½ ins pieces
1 large Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon (5ml) Dried Marjoram or 1 Bouquet Garni for Game from www.gourmetherbs.co.uk
1.1 litre/2 pints Chicken Stock – this can be made with 1 stock cube
120gr/4 oz Caster Sugar
100ml/4fl oz White Wine Vinegar
60gr/2 oz Good Plain Chocolate – over 50% Cocoa solids; grated
30gr/1 oz Pine Kernels
60gr/2 oz Raisins
2 heaped teaspoons (12ml) Cornflour, dissolved in a little cold water
1. Wash the hare pieces and remove any very thin bony bits.
2. Rinse them in the 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar.
3. Dry them with kitchen roll, then roll them in the flour.
4. Melt half the butter in a frying pan and brown the hare pieces on both sides, before transferring them to a casserole, large enough to hold all the ingredients.
5. Add the remaining butter if necessary. When you've browned all the hare, slowly fry the bacon and sliced onions together in the same pan, until the onion is soft. Add these to the casserole.
6. Add the marjoram and the stock. Cover the casserole, and simmer very slowly – either on top of the stove, or put in a slow oven 160C/325F/Gas 3 – for 1½ hours.
7. Mix the sugar and 100ml vinegar together, then add this to the casserole, followed by the grated chocolate, pine kernels and raisins and gently them mix in.
8. Continue to cook for a further 20 minutes.
9. Add the dissolved cornflour and again carefully mix it in. This will thicken the sauce a little.
10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.