Wild hare ragù
Little do you know (actually I'm pretty sure you've all long assumed, and quite rightly) that Lentil is the primary voice behind our stories. But this week I (Matt) am stepping in to talk about one dish that is mine and mine alone.
*Please note, we know you can't all hunt for hare. You will find it at all good produce markets and often at farmers markets OR replace it with a stewing cut of beef with bones in.
For us, part of living here is being in touch with the shifting patterns of wild foods and we have dedicated a whole chapter in the book to it. Gathering wild food is such an incredibly rewarding act. Without wanting to state the obvious, there is something just so primal about it, and the hunt for wild delights, whether plant, animal or fungi (or mineral!), brings your whole being alive in a way few things seem to. Just like when you raise your own animals, taking a small, wild life always sucks, no matter how many times you do it. It doesn't feel 'bad', it happens quite naturally, but I wouldn't say it's a pleasure. But it's incredibly rewarding to have control over how that life ends and to know that there was no suffering. That it was quick, efficient and painless. In this case it is also rewarding to know that you are helping to control an introduced animal.
Wild meats tend to be leaner than farmed meats and will often turn out tough and dry if cooked too fast or for too long. In this way they are just like secondary cuts in general. But despite this, both wild meats and these so called 'secondary' cuts have always been prized in traditional cuisines for their incredible flavour. I guess it all comes down to the cooking.
When you break it down, this recipe is really just a great demonstration of the kind of humble stewing technique that is the backbone of those same cuisines. A technique that always guaranteed tender results no matter what tough or wild cut you could get your hands on.