Roast Hare, Filled

My apologies for the irregular postings – I may have to reduce frequency for a bit, life is a tad overwhelming. Here is a brief recipe from the Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch:

Hare (uncooked) by Dürer, courtesy of wikimedia commons

32 To Roast Young Hares that are Filled Entire

Take them and cut open their bellies, not with a long cut, and salt them inside and out. You can also well wash them with wine vinegar before. Thus they become more tender. Salt them within. Take small raisins (Rosynlein), remove the pips, also blanched almonds, cut those into quarters, and also weinberlein, one as much as the other. Put that into the hare, sew its belly shut, lard it with bacon, and let it roast. This is called filled hares (gefülte Heßlein).

These are useful instructions to anyone (like me) who is not adept at roasting hares. They are also a reminder that the greater amount of processing taking place in the kitchen also meant greater flexibility. A simple point of not making a long cut in the belly the better to retain the filling is easy to follow if you skin the hares yourself. These days, even if you can get an entire hare at all (good luck), you will likely get it skinned, gutted, and headless. You can probably still follow the recipe, but not really in the same way.

And of course we once again face the question of what exactly the difference between Rosin and Weinberlein is. I still tend to view it as analogous to raisins vs. currants, one type softer and lighter, the other smaller and harder. But I am really just guessing here. I am also not convinced that raisins and almonds make an attractive filling unless, maybe, they are chopped very fine, but I am willing to entertain the possibility that I am wrong.

The short Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch was first printed in Augsburg in 1559 and reprinted in Nuremberg in 1560 and subsequently. Despite its brevity, it is interesting especially as it contains many recipes for küchlein, baked or deep-fried confections, that apparently played a significant role in displaying status. We do not know who the famous cook referenced in the title may have been or if he ever existed.

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