Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Hare Braising Experience

Or: Splitting Hares (and then Cooking Them)

Ever since our trip to France Jen has been clamoring for a reprise of the rabbit stew with pastis that her uncle made for us. I know what you're thinking: is it possible for one person to clamor? Not usually but in this case, yes!

The best part of cooking with pastis is that I get to pour myself a glass which I can sip as an aperitif while cooking. Pastis is generally a very sneaky drink so I went with a very small portion. I cut up the rabbit into pieces (four legs and that weird back bit that looks kind of like a manta ray) then marinated them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and pastis for about eight hours.

I started off by making a simple salad with kale, robusto cheese, lemon, cider vinegar, Pinova apples, and pecans. I purchased the Pinova apples largely because I had never heard of them before. If you own a grocery store near me and want to make a little extra money it's a safe bet that if you just rotate in a bunch of weird things that I'll wander in and buy them. Because I'm a fool.

I removed the rabbit from the marinade, browned it thoroughly in a hot pan, then removed it and sauteed some crushed garlic cloves, chopped red onion, sliced fennel, carrots, kalamata olives, and a little dried basil. I also through in some chopped tomato and a bay leaf and let it simmer for about an hour and a half.

Whenever I think of slicing carrots I always think of Elmer Fudd. There were always those episodes where he had Bugs Bunny in a pot that he was slowly heating up and he was slicing carrots into these little round slices that were flying off into the pot. Every time I've sliced a carrot, or prepared rabbit, I have always thought of those episodes. In fact I looked for an image with Google Image Search to accompany this but I didn't have any luck coming up with the iconic image from my childhood. I did, however, come up with a number of extremely racist stills from some early Bugs Bunny episodes, a picture of a premature baby, a lot of Jessica rabbit pictures, and this:

Yes. Clive Owens eating a carrot. That, my friends, is the power of Google Image Search.

While I always lean towards beer I couldn't see that working with this particular dish so I chose this Côtes du Rhône from M. Chapoutier. Readers of the blog know that my wine-picking technique usually involves very little in the ways of country or varietal and a lot in the area of goofy names or labels. You may be surprised to see this wine picked as its label, and name, are of little consequence.

Looking a little closer one notices that this particular wine's label is also printed in braille. I think this is great. There was a grocery store in the town I grew up in that had a braille sign on the entrance door. I always found that fascinating since there wasn't a single other sign in the entire city that had braille on it. I always imagined that a blind person could be wandering the city for years before they finally stumbled upon this one grocery store and only then would they get their bearings.

I feel the same about this wine. If I were blind I could have spent all afternoon in the wine store feeling the bottles until I finally happened upon this bottle of reasonably priced Côtes du Rhône.

Just imagine how disappointing that would be if I didn't really care for grenache.


Lisa Marie said...

I believe I have seen the movie that photo of Clive Owen is from. He later uses that carrot to stab someone in the throat.

Unknown said...

Really? I hope you're not making that up because that sounds great!

Lisa Marie said...

I am definitely not making it up, movie is called "Shoot em Up", great movie if you like gratuitous violence aka movies my Mum likes. If I remember correctly, the carrot throat stabbing happens within the first 10 minutes of the movie so you don't have to wait long.

Unknown said...

I'm on it.

Kerri said...

Was the grocery store Almacs?