Chef's choice: Chris McCall on mountain hare
Old Bridge Inn's head chef talks about the native white mountain hare
The produce I associate most with the Cairngorms is our native white mountain hare, or blue hare – one of the most exciting and unique game I have ever come across. They are very hard to come by as most are exported to Europe, rarely making it on to Scottish menus.
We use small-scale dealers whose hares are culled on grouse moors to control ticks. Smaller and hardier than the lowland brown hare, they tend to live above 500m, feeding on grass and young heather. The meat has a less gamey flavour than brown hare, requiring only a day or two hanging at the most.
The loins are incredibly tender, needing only a minute in the pan, though they must be served rare, while legs are braised as a daube to accompany the loins or a rich ragu for cannelloni.
Chris McCall is head chef at Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore