For the hunters out there, turn hare into a gourmet feast with this savory and sweet marinade which not only tenderizes, but flavors the rabbit meat. If you do not have access to blackcurrants, try substituting huckleberries, redcurrants, boysenberries, lingonberries, or even blueberries, along with a corresponding sweet, fruity wine. You will need to plan ahead for marination time.
The Author Says: “In memory of my friend, Chef François Cara.” –Jean Grappe
Hare with Blackcurrants Recipe
2 small hares (each 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds/750 to 875 g)
12 whole shallots
1 stalk celery
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 bouquet garni
4 cloves garlic
1-1/4 cups (300 mL) blackcurrant wine
1/4 cup (60 mL) grapeseed oil
2 Tablespoon (30 mL) black peppercorns
2 Tablespoon (30 mL) salt
1/4 cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
1 cup (250 mL) brown game stock
160 blackcurrants (see Tips)
Cut hares into pieces. Set aside thighs, saddles and shoulders, and cut breasts into small pieces for the sauce.
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.
When you’re ready to cook, remove hare breasts from marinade. Heat oil in a separate 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 below). 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.
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.
• Serve hot with boiled potatoes, crosnes, salsify or chestnut purée.
• Many larger grocery chains now sell frozen rabbit in the freezer case.
Recipe Source: “The Complete Wild Game Cookbook: Includes 165 Recipes” by Jean Grappe (Robert Rose)
Reprinted with express permission.