Saturday, May 05, 2007

A hare in the kitchen - HASENPFEFFER

Sue and I met in a parking lot to exchange the goods. She gave me a wild hare and homemade Thai sausage. I gave her some frozen wild blueberries, homemade pasta sauce and fresh koubassa. Then I went home and cooked. Sue's husband Vance makes an old German recipe called Hasenpfeffer - peppered hare. It compares closely to a similar recipe in Time-Life Foods of the World: The Cooking of Germany. Here's my version, a combination of both recipes.

½ pound bacon, finely chopped
1 rabbit (3-5 pounds)
salt and pepper
¼ cup flour
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 cup wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp homemade jelly
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped (or ¼ tsp dried)
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (or ¼ tsp dried)
2 tsp lemon juice

In a stovetop casserole, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Cut the rabbit into serving pieces. Sprinkle with salt and a generous amount of fresh ground pepper. Coat the meat lightly in flour. Add the meat to the hot bacon fat and brown on both sides. (You may have to do this in batches.) As the rabbit is done, transfer it to a plate.

Remove all but 2 tbsp of bacon fat from the pot. (If there is less than 2 tbsp of fat, add butter.) Sauté onion and garlic until soft. Pour in the wine and chicken stock. Bring to a boil on high heat, scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the jelly, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme. Return the bacon, rabbit and its juices to the casserole. (I also added the blood which had pooled in the bowl while the rabbit was thawing.) Cover the casserole tightly and simmer 1 hour. Check the meat for doneness, and cook another ½ hour if necessary.

When the rabbit is done, remove to a serving plate and keep warm. Taste the sauce. It should be good and peppery; add more pepper if needed. Remove the bay leaf. Simmer until the sauce is reduced and thickened. Add the lemon juice. Serve the rabbit and sauce over egg noodles or boiled potatoes.

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