Chef Jose Souto writes:

We eat few hares in the UK. Indeed, around 90 per cent of those harvested here go abroad. This is mainly due to the fact that when it comes to cooking hare we seem to be stuck in a time warp. Not many chefs look beyond the jugged hare recipe of old, a dish that to many of today’s tastes is strong and unappealing. Even the process by which the hare’s blood is collected then later used to thicken the cooking juices sounds unsavoury to many. But it does not need to be like this. Hare is a fantastic meat if you cook it well and with care.

There are a couple of things to remember about hare. First, its meat is strong in terms of flavour and smell, which can put people off. Secondly, it is a mammal and as such has parts that are tender and will cook quickly (the first-class cuts such as the loins) and parts that are tougher and will therefore take longer to cook (second-class cuts such as the shoulders and legs).

I gut and skin my hares as soon as I can then wash the whole animal in cold water two or three times. This will tone down the strong odour and taste without detracting from its fantastic natural flavour. Cut the hare into two shoulders, two legs, one saddle and one rib end. Remove the silvery sinew from the saddle but leave the loins on the bone.

The legs and shoulders are for stewing and braising dishes, the loin is for roasting and the rib end is for making sauces.

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