Huntin’ and shootin’ and totally NSFV

We spent the weekend at my sister-in-law Anne’s farm on the Monaro Plains in southern NSW. There were all manner of country pursuits including feeding the sheep, watching the kids have goes in the tractor and letting the toddler have a go of the steering wheel.

dancing

tractorJet at the wheel

(If you think that was just some crazy set up toddler diving shot, check here – and no, we weren’t on a road.)

There was lots of good food and more wine than was really necessary. And there was my sister Kelly heading out to see if she could shoot a bunny, back within the hour bearing a wild hare. She is an art teacher and decided to get all Dutch on our ass:

still life

Then Anne dressed the hare while we (and the kids) looked on. We hung the hare for a day in the farm’s old “meat room”, and brought it back home on ice. We were a bit unsure about hanging it here – it’s not exactly a European climate, and we’d already gutted it. Fortunately Stephanie Alexander’s Cooks Companion had the answer – as it almost always does – and it was only necessary to rest it in the fridge for a few days.

I jointed it and rubbed the carcass with olive oil and it’s in the fridge on a rack, covered with muslin. I’ll cook it up tomorrow for the extended family on Friday, but we’ll need something else too as one hare won’t feed all of us.

We didn’t keep the offal because my sister was afraid of hydatids, but she’s not really an offal fancier and I wish I’d kept the liver. I’m thinking a braise with thyme, red wine, prunes, pepper and maybe a tiny bit of bitter chocolate. Your suggestions and expertise are very welcome in comments.

There’s a couple of photos over the fold (gore warning), and a lot more both photos and gore at my flickr.

cutting

rejects

meat

15 comments ↓

#1 Stephanie on 19.11.08 at 1:10 pm

So impressed with your bravery…to tackle such a task!

#2 Dr Sister Outlaw on 19.11.08 at 1:10 pm

Great, if slightly confronting in the gore stakes.

My favourite meal when I lived in Paris (cue wanker alarm) was from a sweet little bistro in a marketplace in the Marais (OK, now I’m bunging it on) and it was called lapin au pruneaux. It was red wine, thyme and prunes, probably with jambon or bacon or lard and served with a divine mash that I could never figure out. Was it couscous or spuds? Never mind, it was LUSH.

I cooked a whole bunny once in Paris. They kindly removed the soft fluffy fur and the head from the carcase before they gave it back to me. The kidneys and liver were very strong in flavour. I jointed it and stewed it, slowly, and it was very good but never quite summoned the magic of lapin au pruneaux … and from subsequent rabbit experiences Aussie bush bunnies just don’t cut it.

The waiter at the bistro used to mock me, saying ‘ah, le petit poivre lapin’, to which I would reply ‘Jeez mate, you eat horses! Anyway, shooting bunnies is the duty of all patriotic Australians.’

Wonder if Hugh Jackman does it in Orstraya?

#3 Zoe on 19.11.08 at 1:17 pm

I don’t think tenderness will be it’s strong point, DSO.

Stephanie, I find I need to summon up more bravery to go into Woolworths on pension day than to do something like this.

#4 Anthony on 19.11.08 at 6:12 pm

DSO, there’s a great Catalan recipe for rabbit and prunes (with a picada, no bacon) in Patience Gray’s Honey From a Weed, which I’ve cooked several times. Some folk say they won’t eat rabbit: my mum, for instance, a product of a Depression-era single mum family where her older brothers probably went bush and brought one too many rabbits back. In those cases, I use free range chicken and the result is still pretty OK.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had wild rabbit as opposed to farmed rabbit. Wasn’t there some scare about 10 or 15 years ago regarding calcivirus or something? Now it seems you can only get farmed rabbits from butchers.

#5 Dr Sista Outlaw on 19.11.08 at 7:51 pm

You can get bush ones from my butcher! Am so lucky … actually, farmed ones are much tastier

#6 kate on 20.11.08 at 8:22 am

I showed my lad the pictures of your sister in law in action and he said “Car!”. Completely ignored the butchering to note the station wagon.

#7 Francis Xavier Holden on 20.11.08 at 9:57 am

Ms Palin – eat your heart out.

We have the shootin’ – hare, the tootin’ – utes, where’s the rootin’ ?

#8 Dr Sister Outlaw on 20.11.08 at 11:30 am

Ahem, that’s the bit we don’t want to discuss. But evidence of the rootin’ is the sproggery … BTW, forgot Anthony, the calicivirus did wipe out a lot of wild rabbits, but not nearly enough and it wasn’t so effective around the eastern states where there are still heaps of bush bunnies. There certainly are where I live.

#9 Lucy on 20.11.08 at 12:16 pm

Cool. Gross, but fascinating.

I think it must be safe enough here to admit that I do like me a bit ‘o butchery.

#10 Lucy on 20.11.08 at 12:17 pm

Oh and I watched Watership Down last night. No joke.

Uncanny, no?

#11 another outspoken female on 20.11.08 at 12:55 pm

Though I don’t eat meat I fully applaud people catching and dressing their own wild animals. Good on you. We’ve lost touch with where the food comes from, let alone butchery skills.

I remember eating wild hare, complete with the odd bit of shot in it, as a teenager. It was baked and a bit dry but pleasant enough taste. For a while there was commercially raised rabbits available from the supermarket in New Zealand, less gamey and quite delicious stewed with red wine and herbs.

Tempting but not quite enough to make me become a carnivore just yet :)

#12 And then we ate the hare | Progressive Dinner Party on 22.11.08 at 10:26 pm

[...] my sister, her partner Anne and their kids Ciara and Reece joined us for The Eating of The Hare. They took our bigger boy out to lunch and Owy went to cricket, so I had a couple of hours of [...]

#13 FDB on 24.11.08 at 9:10 am

Magnificent.

#14 Zoe on 05.12.08 at 3:01 pm

A hare’s one thing – check out this post from Chris of On The Kitchen Steps on butchering a deer and this one from Chef Chris Cosentino’s Offal Good on family turkey processing.

#15 Zoe on 16.12.08 at 1:30 pm

Oh, and look, Joanna Blythman of The Guardian is at it too.

Leave a Comment


Warning: include(screenshot.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/crazybravezoe/progressivedinnerparty.net/wp-content/themes/copyblogger/footer.php on line 6

Warning: include(): Failed opening 'screenshot.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/lib/php:/usr/local/php5/lib/pear') in /home/crazybravezoe/progressivedinnerparty.net/wp-content/themes/copyblogger/footer.php on line 6