Hare ragù with polenta and salsa verde
- January 2015
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 35 minutes, oven time 2 hours 30 minutes
Ever eaten hare before? Try it in this rich, comforting ragù recipe with creamy polenta and zingy salsa verde.
- 25.3g (10.1g saturated)
- 34g (6g sugars)
- Olive oil for frying
- 25g butter
- 1kg boneless, diced hare (see tips)
- 50g plain flour
- 1 large onion, very finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, very finely chopped
- 1 carrot, very finely chopped
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 juniper berries
- 250ml red wine
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 250ml fresh chicken stock
- 10g dark chocolate, grated (100% cocoa solids – we used Willie’s Cacao, from larger supermarkets)
For the salsa verde
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
- 4 cornichons, chopped
- 2 anchovies in oil
- Handful fresh parsley leaves
- Handful fresh basil leaves
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
For the polenta
- 175g cornmeal polenta (see tips)
- Large knob of butter
- 75g parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
- Heat the oven to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, lidded flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat. Season the hare, toss in the flour, then fry until golden (you may need to do this in batches). Remove to a plate.
- Heat a little more oil, then add the onion, celery and carrot. Fry for 10 minutes, covered, or until softened, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the thyme, garlic, bay and juniper.
- Return the meat to the pan, then stir in the red wine. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes and stock. Season, bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook
- for 2½ hours or until the meat can be shredded with a fork.
- Meanwhile, make the salsa verde. Put all the ingredients apart from the oil into a mini food processor and whizz to a coarse paste (or chop the first 6 ingredients finely, then stir in the mustard and vinegar).
- When the meat is tender, remove the casserole from the oven and put it on the hob over a medium heat. Uncover and stir in the chocolate. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is thick and well reduced.
- Meanwhile make the polenta. Bring 1 litre water to the boil in a large pan. Slowly pour in the polenta, stirring continually (it may be easier to get someone to help with this). Turn down the heat and keep stirring as the polenta thickens. Add more hot water if it’s too thick. Stir for 15 minutes. Stir in the butter and parmesan, then season well. Taste and season again if necessary.
- Mix the 2 tbsp oil into the salsa verde, spoon the polenta onto plates and top with the ragù. Serve with the salsa verde and extra parmesan.
Order diced hare from good butchers or online at wildmeat.co.uk. Or use diced vension shoulder or chuck steak instead.
Use quick-cook polenta if you wish. Follow the pack instructions to cook.
Make the ragù up to 3 days ahead, cover and keep in the fridge. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost before reheating.
Chianti classico matches this ragù perfectly – but trade up from the cheapest.
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