Hare meat is considered a delicacy in many cuisines around the world, including British, French, and Italian. It is known for its rich, gamey flavour and tender texture, making it a sought-after ingredient for gourmet dishes. That rich and gamey flavour is one that lends itself to so many of our staple dishes. We hold off serving game between the 1st of Aril and 1st of October here at The Kings Arms, as both a nod to the 1892 Hares preservation act and out of a more personal respect of this beautiful English quarry. As autumn hits us squarely in the face, brisk walks, cooler breezes and muddy puddles always get us looking towards comfort foods, sat around the big pub fire.
Hare Pie is always a natural contender, rich suet pastry crust for the base and lidded with a light puff pastry. Mashed, sauté or chipped potatoes, the choice is yours but the accompaniments of the ubiquitous spiced braised red cabbage and Medlar Jelly from the pub’s orchard are a must. The pie filling is made up of the braised shoulder meat, smooth and silky, often benefitting from our smokehouse bacon and some seasonal wild mushrooms. We reserve the legs for a confit dish and the saddles for something a little fancier on the a la carte menus. But one thing is for sure we aim to waste as little as possible, even using the bones for game stock and the offal throughout our seasonal pates. It is a lean meat that is high in protein and low in fat, making it a healthy choice for those looking to incorporate more nutritious options into their diet. Hare meat is so versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, its distinctive flavour adds depth and complexity to many of our recipes, making it a favourite here at The Kings Arms Wing.
We embrace hare meat as a sustainable and ethical choice compared to other meats. Hares are wild animals that live freely in their natural habitats, and their meat is sourced through regulated hunting practices. This ensures that the animals are not subjected to the intensive farming methods associated with other meats, reducing the environmental impact, and promoting a more ethical approach to food consumption. There is a ready abundance of hare right on our doorstep which can be readily experienced by any journey through the roads and lanes around us. Often hundreds can be seen in the fields around the pub.
The Hare Preservation Act, also known as the Hare Coursing Act, is a legislation that was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2004 to protect hares from being hunted and killed for sport. This act prohibits the hunting of hares with dogs, specifically greyhounds and other sighthounds, which were traditionally used in hare coursing.
The primary purpose of the Hare Preservation Act is to conserve and preserve the hare population in the UK. Hares are an important part of the ecosystem, and their preservation is crucial for maintaining biodiversity. By protecting hares from being hunted, the act ensures that their numbers can recover and thrive in their natural habitats.
Kitchens have moved on from the traditional jugged hare and are treating hare as the real seasonal, local and sustainable delicacy it is. So why not try it next time you see it on a menu. For any lover of game or just for those with an adventurous pallet it is a must.