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  • Writer's pictureCyprus Cooking by Liz

Wild hare - Λαγός

Updated: Jan 15

Hare stifado is a winter dish, usually made around the holiday season as hare is spare and it is therefor baked for special occasions. It is such a delicious treat, from beginning to end your kitchen will fill with the aroma of the meat and onions and will leave your mouth watering.

Hunting was a necessity in earlier days, if you wanted to eat you had to hunt. Nowadays it is done mostly for recreation. Hunting is the number 1 hobby among men here on the island, the men wake up really early in the morning on the predefined days, gather their hunting equipment and their dogs and set off for the plains and mountainous areas. They are so proud to show to their friends and beloved ones their catch, 1 or 2 hares and many birds like woodpigeon, turtle dove and quail, chukar partridge, black francolin, thrushes, and woodcock. Unfortunately the hunters are many and the game limited and eventhough there are regulations, illegal (bird) hunting still goes on today.

We bought the hare from a friend, frozen, still with its fur on and wild Terebinth brances in its cleaned tummy, the right way of preserving the hare for freezing.

Wild hare, known for its dark red meat and stronger taste than its farmed cousin the rabbit. Delicious meat prepared in the right way is a feast on the dinner table. We decided to cook together today. I took as base the recipe for stifado, as it is stifado, but instead of beef, we use hare.

Actually nothing can go wrong with this recipe, as long as you use good, fresh ingredients. We like to go to the market for real Cyprus onions and tomatoes instead of buying them in the supermarket, also the quality of vinegar and redwine should be of top quality.

What you will need:

  • 1 hare cleaned and cut in pieces

  • 500-1000 gr of small Cyprus onions, cleaned and kept whole or cut in half

  • a few ripe tomatoes cut in pieces

  • 200 ml olive oil

  • 200 ml red wine

  • 50-100 ml vinegar, apple vinegar is fine, vinegar may quick become too much, so its better to go easy on the vinegar.

  • salt

  • bayleaves

  • 300 ml water

You will also need an ovendish with lid, the one I used is 20x30 cm. The dish I use can also be placed on the hob and that is really easy, but you can also use a frying pan and transfer the hare and onions to an ovendish.

How to make:

  • preheat the oven 200 degrees C.

  • start by adding some olive oil in the oven dish, place it on the hob and heat the oil, add the pieces of hare and bake them on all sides,

  • take the pieces out of the dish and place them on a plate for now,

  • bake the onions in the same oil as the hare and brown them all over,

  • add the remaining oil to the dish,

  • add tomatoes and bayleaves,

  • place the hare back in the dish,

  • add vinegar and wine,

  • add water,

  • place on hob and bring to the boil,

  • close with the lid and place in the oven,

  • bake for 15 min on 200 degrees, then lower the temperature to 175 degrees C,

  • Bake for 3 hours,

  • Check from time to time.

Serve with a green crispy salad and french fries.

Good luck and enjoy!! Καλή όρεξη!!

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