In America "hare" and "rabbit" are interchangeable terms. The wild rabbit of the Middle States and New England is the "old hare" of the South, and one with the "Br'er Rabbit" of negro folklore. Hence I shall use the names indifferently in the recipes dealing with the wily coureur du bois of both regions.
Wash the cleaned and beheaded rabbit thoroughly, and cut it open all along the under side of the body. Make deep incisions across the backbone that the heat may penetrate to the center of the flesh. Spread the hare open on a gridiron and broil, turning frequently. When done, transfer to a hot platter, rub with butter, cover and keep warm in the oven while you make the sauce that is to accompany the game.
In a small saucepan melt three tablespoonfuls of butter, and stir into it two tablespoonfuls of vinegar, a teaspoonful of French mustard and a teaspoonful of minced parsley. When very hot pour this sauce over the rabbit. Let it stand covered in a hot dish five minutes before serving.
Leave the heads on in cleaning them. Stuff the bodies with a forcemeat of fat salt pork, minced onion and fine crumbs, well seasoned with pepper and salt. Sew them up with fine thread and lay upon thin slices of pork covering the grating of the roaster.
Lay other slices of pork over them, pour over all a cupful of stock and roast one hour. Remove the pork then, wash with butter, dredge with flour and brown.
Drain off the gravy, lay the bits of bacon about the rabbit in the dish; thicken the gravy with browned floor. Boil up, add a tablespoonful of tomato catsup and a glass of claret, and take from the fire.
Skin, clean and cut up as for fricassee. Make two pieces of each back. Fry a dozen slices of fat salt pork in a frying-pan, then two sliced onions to a pale brown. Strain the fat back into the pan, keeping the shreds of onion and pork in a bowl by themselves. Pepper, salt and dredge with flour the jointed hare and fry, a few pieces at a time, in the same fat. Have ready parboiled about two dozen potato balls and half as many baby onions, with half a cupful of button mushrooms, canned or fresh. When the meat is well seared on both sides, lay some in the casserole, then six potato balls and two or three onions with a few mushrooms. Strew the chopped salt pork over them, season with pepper and dredge with browned flour. Proceed in this order until the casserole is full. Cover with cold stock or gravy, put on the cover, filling in the cracks where it joins the casserole with flour paste; and cook slowly three hours before opening it. If tender, then drain off the gravy carefully not to disturb the various layers. Put into a saucepan, thicken with browned flour; season with tomato catsup and salt and pepper if needed. Boil one minute; stir in a tablespoonful of tart jelly and the same of lemon juice; return to the casserole;replace the cover and leave in an open oven for five minutes before serving.