Dinner with hare & friends | Milkbottle

Dinner with hare & friends

This weekend Nathalie and I cooked a wild game dinner for a bunch of friends, we were with 11 people.

First we had a salad of bitter leaves of red endive and roquette with roasted beetroot, pomegranate seeds and blue cheese. The cheese was a perfectly ripe Roquefort, creamy and piquant at the same time, delicious with the bitterness of the leaves, the sweetness of the roasted beets and the sweet-sour sparkles of the pomegranate seeds.

Main course was a hare, shot by Nathalie’s neighbour himself…, marinated for 24 hours in wine, herbs and vegetables, slowly stewed until tender, accompanied by stir fried savoy cabbage with pancetta & chestnuts, Brussel sprouts, and oven baked mashed potatoes with celeriac. Tradional flavours with a contemporary touch.

Next we had a selection of French cheeses; Epoisse, a rich, piquant cheese from Epoisse, a small town in Burgundy, France, a Delice the Bourgogne, creamy and tangy, and a Crottin de Chavignol, a peppery and chalky goat’s cheese, delicious….

And after that we served my grandmother’s apple pie and an almond-carrot tart, with a glass of Tokaj dessert wine, perfect with the apple pie and the nutty sweetness of the almond-carrot tart.

The table was beautiful decorated by one of our friends, using savoy cabbage leaves, privet leaves and sloe berries to create a lovely feeling of fall.



Marinated & Stewed Hare
Serves 6
1 hare, about 1,5 kg, portioned
For the marinade:
3 dl red wine
1 dl olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
1 bay leaf
3 juniper berries
2 bay leaves
1 clove of garlic, crushed
For the stew:
50 g butter
150 g bacon or pancetta, in cubes
1 onion, chopped
35 g 'kneaded butter' made of 25 g soft butter with 15 g flour mixed together with a fork
2,5 dl beef stock
1 tbsp extra butter or cream to finish the sauce at the end
Combine all ingredients for the marinade, add the pieces of hare and leave to marinade for 24 hours in the fridge.
Take the pieces of hare out of the marinade and pat them dry with kitchen paper, keep the marinade.
Melt the butter in a large oven proof casserole over medium heat, and fry the bacon or panceta for a few minutes.
Add the hare pieces and brown them on all sides.
Add the onion, lower the flame, and cook for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 150ºc.
Add the marinade to the hare and enough beef stock just to cover the meat.
Bring to a simmer, then gently stir in the 'kneaded butter', in small bits at the time, while shaking the casserole to make it mix evenly.
Cover the casserole with a lid and place in the oven for an hour, or until done.
Take out the pieces of hare and keep warm.
Bring the sauce to a simmer, stir in some butter or cream and serve the hare with the sauce.

Several varieties of potatoes Several varieties of cabbage
left Several varieties of potatoes
right Several varieties of cabbage
Oven Baked Potato Mash with Celeriac
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1/2 head of celeriac, peeled cut into pieces
salt & pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
olive oil
2-3 tbsp fine breadcrumbs
1 tbsp butter
Place potato and celeriac with 1/2 tsp salt in a saucepan, and fill with water until covered.
Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender.
Drain in a colander, but keep the cooking liquid.
Preheat the oven to 180ºc.
Pass potatoes and celeriac through a potato masher back into the saucepan.
Add a splash of the cooking liquid and some olive oil and stir until smooth, use more cooking liquid if needed.
Stir in the nutmeg and salt & pepper to taste.
Ladle the mash into a baking dish, sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and devide the butter in small knobs all over the breadcrumbs.
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the top is crips and golden.
Savoy Cabbage with Pancetta & Chestnuts
200 g pancetta, cut ino matchsticks
1 head of savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
3 hands of chestnuts, cooked and peeled
olive oil
salt & pepper
Heat a tbsp of olive oil in al large cast iron skillet and fry the onion with the pancetta on a low heat until golden and caramelized.
Add the garlic slices and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the cabbage and stir fry until it softens, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the chestnuts and salt & pepper to taste.
Serve at room temperature.
Almond Carrot Tart
250 g almonds, freshly ground
250 grated carrots
250 g sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp pine nuts
4 organic eggs, whites and yolks separated
a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180ºc.
Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
Add the ground almonds and grated carrots and stir until well combined.
Whisk the egg whites with the salt until stiff peaks, and gently fold them into the almond-carrot mixture with a metal spoon.
Line a 20cm ø spring form with baking parchment and fill with the almond mixture.
Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and place in the oven.
Bake for 45-60 minutes until done, test with a skewer; if it comes out clean then the tart is ready.
Let the tart cool completely, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Images: Leonoor Ottink, Robert Borghuis, Paul Lowe & Colin Cooke via Taverne Agency Recipes: Leonoor Ottink

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