Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mealtime Magic: Hare with Blackcurrants

The Complete Wild Game Cookbook explains, from forest to table, how to make the most of wild game. It is not only full of information about game birds and animals but also introduces you to several wild plants that pair especially well with the suggested dishes, and includes recipes for broths, gravies, marinades and glazes.

The book gives tips for preparing and cooking game, wine pairing, cuts of meat, and more. It's a great way to expand your options for cooking with wild game. Author JEAN-PAUL GRAPPE has been the chef and owner of four major restaurants and has taught for nearly 25 years. I have a chance to share a recipe
from this book.

Hare with Blackcurrants
In memory of my friend, Chef François Cara
   Dutch oven
2         small hares (each 112 to 134 lbs/750 to 875 g) 2
12        whole shallots                      12
1         stalk celery                         1
1         carrot, thinly sliced                1
1         bouquet garni                        1
4         cloves garlic                        4
114 cups blackcurrant wine               300 mL
14 cup   grapeseed oil                    60 mL
2 tbsp    black peppercorns                30 mL
2 tbsp    salt                             30 mL
14 cup   vegetable oil                    60 mL
1 cup     brown game stock                250 mL
160       blackcurrants (see Tips)           160
1.   Cut hares into pieces. Set aside thighs, saddles and shoulders, and cut breasts into small pieces for the sauce.
2.   Add pieces of hare breast, shallots, celery stalk, thinly sliced carrot, bouquet garni and garlic to a heavy-bottomed skillet. Pour in blackcurrant wine and grapeseed oil. Add peppercorns and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 36 hours.
3.   When you’re ready to cook, remove hare breasts from marinade. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add 4 thighs, 4 shoulders and 2 saddles, each cut in two and cook, stirring, until firm, but not browned, about 5 minutes per side (see Tips, left). Place hare breast and its marinade in a large Dutch oven and heat. Add brown game stock and simmer gently until completely cooked. The blood of the animal will have slightly thickened the sauce.
4.   Using a slotted spoon, drain pieces of hare and shallots. Set aside. Pour sauce through a fine-mesh strainer. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add pieces of hare, whole shallots and blackcurrants to the sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

The pulp of the blackcurrant contains many seeds. Black­currants are tart, juicy and flavorful. They are used in cooking and to make crème de cassis, blackcurrant syrup and fruit jelly.
We do not fry the meat of a hare, we “stiffen” it, which means that we cook it in hot fat just long enough to stiffen the fibers without coloring the meat.
Serving Tips
Serve hot with boiled potatoes, crosnes, salsify or chestnut purée.

Courtesy of The Complete Wild Game Cookbook by Jean-Paul Grappe © 2015 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.

Recipe photo credit: Mitch Mandel/Rodale Images

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