Lepre alla Provenzale, Brasato al Sidro, con Pure alla Maggiorana & Verdure Miste
Cidre-Braised Hare "Provencale", with Marjoram Mashed Potatoes + Vegetables
I can't tell you good people often enough how much I love shopping at the market hall in Frankfurt- it is like "Around the World in 8 Minutes" in there! Yesterday, I was desperately trying to think of something seasonal to cook... but something a little out of the ordinary.
Not wanting to do chicken again, or pork, or beef, I began to think I needed to buy a nice cut of lamb. And then I saw rabbit. Hmm... decisions, decisions! Just as I was about to ask for a couple of filets from the rabbit- I saw the darker, richer, juicier and gamier cuts of hare... THAT was what I wanted! Something new to me but nice and old- fashioned and traditional at the same time... perfect!
So I set about preparing it in a pseudo-traditional way today, and marinating it beforehand, as is the norm with game, to get rid of the "gamey" flavor. Well I am sure that, that was true many moons ago when people were not able to refrigerate things the way we do nower days- so I didn't see a need to have it soaking overnight. I put it in at 10 am this morning and cooked it at 5 pm- and I think that was plenty of time. I soaked it in cider, to which I added rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaf and a lovely, large red shallot.
7 hours later, I poured everything but the shallot into a saucepan, brought it to a boil and then turned it down to simmer for a couple of hours. I had to keep replacing cider as it cooked down of course. An hour later, I prepared the vegetable sides- this time I decided to do carrots and Brussels Sprouts- nothing crazy there- just plain, simple Autumn flavors. The mashed potatoes on the other hand, were flavored with fresh marjoram, nutmeg and butter... YUM! But again- hardly rocket science.
After an hour and a half, I removed the hare from the pan and poured the juices through a sieve. I turned up the heat in the frying pan, so that the stuff that had accumulated at the bottom of the pan began to get a little toasty- and then I deglazed the pan with a shot of Calvados. I then added 2-3 finely crumbled gingersnap cookies, the juices I had strained and as little tomato paste. I turned the heat up a little and let this render down. After 10 minutes or so, I returned the hare and the shallot to the pan so it would finish off cooking in that lovely rich sauce... mmm!
10 minutes later, this yummy, Fall dish was ready to be served- hearty, rich and ultimately comforting... what's not to love? I know that I did!