Jenny's Hare Pie from Voyager in the Outlander series

Jenny's Hare Pie from Voyager

"If ye've brought meat, we'll have it.  If not, it's brose and hough."

He made a face at this; the thought of boiled barley and shin-beef, the last remnants of the salted beef carcass they'd bought two months before, was unappealing.

"Just as well I had luck, then," he said.  He upended his game bag and let the three rabbits fall onto the table in a limp tumble of gray fur and crumpled ears.  "And blackthorn berries," he added, tipping out the contents of the dun bonnet, now stained inside with the rich red juice.

Jenny's eyes brightened at the sight.  "Hare pie," she declared.  "There's no currants, but the berries will do even better, and there's enough butter, thank God."  Catching a tiny blink of movement among the gray fur, she slapped her hand down on the table, neatly obliterating the minuscule intruder.

"Take them out and skin 'em, Jamie, or the kitchen will be hopping wi' fleas."

Diana Gabaldon, Voyager (Chapter 5)

Don't you just love Jamie and Jenny together?  Especially when it's just the 2 of them.

Classic, ball-grabbing, times.

But not today -- today, they're all about the hare pie -- which means so am I.

Hare Pie Mallet

The first thing I did was went out and got me a rabbit. Some of you may be able to hunt your own, but I had to go to a specialty butcher for this fella here -- and there was never a hope I was going to find a hare.  Congratulations if you can!  I'm a little jealous.

I went to one of my favourite hunters/foragers for help butchering Bugs up into 10 pieces, or collops, as Jenny later directs Jamie to do.

Then, still following Jenny's directions, I took the massive wooden mallet that I found on the tool bench downstairs to whack the crap out of flatten the bones.  A normal meat tenderizer will also do the job, but I'm nothing if not committed to authenticity where practical.

For some of you, pounding bones with all your might not be practical.  Particularly if you live on the top floor.  Personally, my husband is used to loud banging noises coming from the kitchen -- he barely even looks up anymore.  But if your housemates aren't as well prepared, you can skip the pounding step.  Just note that the rabbit pieces won't sit as well in the pan while you're browning them and you won't have the benefit of working out the day's aggressions.

It's up to you, but I recommend the mallet.

Hare Pie

The blackthorn berries that Jamie dumped out of his dunbonnet are commonly known as sloe berries today.  I've never seen them outside of the UK, and only then in gin. :)

Blackberries or blueberries match well with rabbit and are a great alternative in Jenny's recipe.  The blackberries in my pie spent the winter in the freezer, just waiting for their perfect place.  If you don't have any berries, use a bit of jam instead.  Just dollop small spoonfuls in amongst the meat and veggies.

Hare Pie

Aside from the currants she replaces with berries, the other ingredient Jenny is missing for the recipe, as written in Mrs. McLintock's Recipes for Cookery and Pastry-Work, is claret.  Originally, a claret was a pale, light-tasting wine -- close to what we now call a rosé.  But over time, the term claret has changed to refer to a dry, dark red Bordeaux.

Jenny didn't want to break open the last cask of claret and we don't actually know what she decided to use in the end (other things came up).  My Outlander Kitchen has a few more resources than Jenny's post-uprising one, so I went all out and picked up a bottle of French rosé for my pie.  It made for a wonderful "gravy" and the remainder was verra nice, chilled, with a slice of hare pie on the side.

Hare Pie

I made a classic short crust recipe and added some chopped thyme for a little extra flavour.  Fresh herbs are easy to grow and are a colourful way to add extra flavour to dishes.  If you're trying to cut down on salt, consider adding herbs to your culinary repertoire in its place.

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