Friday, January 05, 2007

Eating Hares

An anonymous commentor on my post California Coursing Redux takes issue with my defence of coursing. Very well, though I don't think he or she read it as carefully as they might have. But with one point I must take issue.

"As for the comment given at the hearing that the killed rabbits were all consumed by owners of the dogs. I didn't believe it. "Please put a piece of one of the torn apart rabbits on my plate. Wait till I pull the fur off. Thank you"."

Unfortunately, NOT all hunters with longdogs in this country eat their hares, though all hares are eaten-- by the dogs. But this is not because they are ripped apart, because they NEVER are. I have eaten from between ten and twenty hares in the last year, from my dogs and (mostly) from friends, because we have been in a low hare population swing the past year. If there was any damage it tended to be on the ribs (not eaten by humans, only used for stock) or on the head (by stooping falcon-- a bullet- swift death). Sighthounds drop their quarry when it stops running, and are utterly un- possessive.

Hares aren't eaten in the US because (A) nobody realizes that jackrabbits are hares and (B) nobody but a classical French or English cook does slow braises-- they take time.

For a good hare recipe (if I say so myself!) go here. (And check out the rest of that fine food- filled blog too).

Later this week I am cooking our last hare of the season (unless we get a late run-- we try to stop in February), courtesy of Dr. John Burchard's salukis in California. I will photograph and post.


Matt Mullenix said...

Rina caught a couple cottontails in a recent hunt. One of them will feed my hawk and the other was cleaned for the table and will be fried up for friends next weekend.

Neither rabbit was "ripped apart." The damage to the meat was minimal and as Steve says, the dogs lose interest immediately after the rabbit is dead (which happens fast).

As for the hare meat, I've got several in the freezer courtesy our hawks, and will be eating some of those too.

H Houlahan said...

Nice hare recipe.

The farm collies are keen and willing, but too slow to catch even cottontails before they make it to the fence. As far as I know. Maybe they aren't telling. John Burchard can verify that they will flush a hare on occasion, but I haven't got a saluki here to chase it when that happens.

But got any recipes for groundhog?

Mine would start "Identify the mysterious and vaguely horrifying shiny object on the living room rug. If it is a groundhog that has been turned inside-out and dragged in through the dog door ..."

At that point I'm at a loss.

I was thinking that some presentation that included home-grown filet beans would be appropriate, since that seems to be where the dogs apprehend them.

Steve Bodio said...

Coming soon: a delicious recipe for woodchuck by my friend Jim Babb, editor of Gray's Sporting Journal, from A. D. Livingston's Complete Fish & Game Cookboook (the best cookbook for "oddities" like rail, possum etc.)

Actually most hare recipes and stews would work for woodchuck-- I used to eat them in Maine.

Or, as they are marmots, you can cook them Mongolian- style-- stuff with hot rocks, throw in fire, burn hair off, remove blackened carcass, eat. Peculiar ate one that way there and pronounced it delicious-- of course he had been living on boiled mutton and fish. I have always been in Mongolia when marmots were hibernating so can't comment.

PBurns said...

Groundhog isn't too bad if they are young -- our easterm marmot. I am told the Mongolian marmot -- the tarvag -- is off-limits to hunting now, as their populations are down. I don't know it it's true, and it may not matter as there is not going to be a lot of law enforcement to stop a plinker on the Mongolian steppes I think.

Steve Bodio said...

There are periodic attempts to crack down on marmot hunting in Mongolia, AFAIK less because they are rare than because they spread plague. Their products are banned in Ulaan Bataar for that reason. Nobody pays much attention.

Peculiar said...

Yes, the Mongolian marmot was pretty good, at least set beside boiled mutton fat without seasonings. Joy of Cooking, of all things, has advice on woodchuck, as well as squirrel, opossum, porcupine, raccoon, muskrat, beaver and armadillo.

H Houlahan said...

Now you guys are going to make me put up or shut up, and actually eat the next one the dogs arrest in the vegetable garden.

Thankfully, the 'chucks are all snoozing away underground at the moment, so I'll have plenty of time to look over the recipes.

Hope it's not one of those big tough mothers next time. I think those are made out of granite and bicycle tires. And I hate the plague like the plague.