Civet de lievre, packed with childhood memories for the hubs.
His grandmother would prepare this red wine and hare stew every single year for Christmas. And so did his mom afterwards. And now we are preparing it for my husband’s grown up kids for Christmas dinner using exactly the same family recipe!
Civet de Lievre (Hare Stew)
Can you find hare around where you live?
At the end of the year when game season is on we go searching for some fresh hare. It is not easy to find sometimes. The butchers here in town don’t sell it anymore. And even the good old restaurants known for their classic Belgian dishes have also stopped serving it.
But this year we were lucky!
We stumbled upon the most loveliest looking fresh hare legs and shoulders at my local farmer’s market, quite unexpectedly I must say. We bought a leg and 2 shoulders, more than enough for just the 2 of us.
Can you replace the hare by rabbit then?
Well here’s the thing: hare and rabbit are totally different from each other in look, color, texture and flavor. Rabbit is white meat like chicken. Hare is red meat and tastes more gamy, closer to venison and its texture after it has been stewed for hours is close to beef chuck.
You either love it or hate it!
I add a little cranberry or blackcurrant jam (a little personal touch from grandma) in the end to counter the sometimes bitter red wine taste but another kind of jam or even a tablespoon of brown sugar will help as well.
- 4 hare legs or shoulders
- 1 large fresh carrot slices
- 1 medium onion
- 4 large garlic cloves unpeeled
- 3 cups red wine (720 ml)
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 cloves
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns
- 4 tbsp cranberry jam optional
- 2 tbsp dried juniper berries
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- Rinse the hare legs under cold running tap water. Pat them dry and place them in a large and wide pan.
- Sprinkle with the unpeeled garlic cloves, juniper berries and black pepper corns.
- Then add the sliced carrot, bay leaves and rosemary to the pan.
- Peel the yellow onion (I used pearl onions that I had still left) and chop it up roughly. Add this to the pan together with a good pinch of salt and the cloves. Pour in the red wine as well.
- The hare should be fully submerged. Put a lid on the pan and place it in the fridge. Let the hare legs soak and marinate in the wine for at least 12 hour, preferably 24 hours. The hare will look purple after that but that’s normal.
- Then place the pan over high heat and bring the wine and the rest of the ingredients to a rolling boil. Then turn the heat low and simmer the hare for at least 2 hours until the soft meat falls more or less off the bone. Right in the end stir in the cranberry sauce (optional) or a little brown sugar.
- Check the seasoning and add extra pepper or salt to taste if necessary. You can add a little bit of flour, cold butter or sauce thickener to make the sauce glossier and creamier. Scoop the hare legs onto deep plates. Divide the carrots and the rest of the sauce over the plates and serve hot.