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.

Kerri said...

Was the grocery store Almacs?