Cooking with Jonathan By Jonathan Jolicoeur

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In this weekly culinary column, I will be focusing on one dish – giving the reader a quick history of the dish, the classical
preparation of it, and of course, my own spin on the classic.

This week I have chosen to cover hasenpfeffer. Hasenpfeffer originated in Germany it is a traditional German stew, which focuses on the main protein – which is hare/rabbit. The protein is normally marinated in wine and vinegar prior to being braised. During the Pioneer Era of this great country, German immigrants would catch and cook squirrels in the same process.

Traditional Hasenpfeffer

2 lb​Rabbit
¾ cup​Red wine
½ cup​Apple cider vinegar
½ cup​Onion, chopped
¼ cup​Flour, Seasoned
2 tbsp​Butter
¼ cup​Sour cream
1 tsp​Salt
¼ tsp​Black pepper, freshly cracked
1​Bay leaf
1 tsp​Mixed pickling spice

Start by cutting the rabbit into stew-sized pieces, then wash and soak the pieces in salted cold water for 1 hour. Drain the rabbit and pat dry. In a non-reactive bowl, mix the wine, vinegar, onion, salt, pepper, bay leaf and pickling spice together. Add rabbit to the bowl and allow to marinate for up to 72 hours. Drain the rabbit and reserve the marinate for later use. Pat the rabbit dry and toss in the flour to coat. In a dutch oven over medium heat, allow the butter to melt and warm before adding the rabbit to brown. Once the rabbit has browned, pour off the remaining fat before adding the reserved marinate. Reduce the heat of the dutch oven to low-to-medium and allow the rabbit to simmer covered for roughly 1 ½ hours, or until the rabbit is tender. Once the rabbit is tender, fold the sour cream into the dish, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Jonathan’s Hasenpfeffer

2 lb​Rabbit
¾ cup​White wine
½ cup​Apple cider vinegar
½ cup​Onion, chopped
¼ cup​Flour, seasoned
2 tbsp​Butter
¼ cup​Sour cream
¼ cup​Heavy cream
1 tsp​Salt
1 tbsp​Black pepper, freshly cracked
1​Bay leaf
1 tsp​Mixed pickling spice

Start by cutting the rabbit into stew-sized pieces, then wash and soak the pieces in salted cold water for 1 hour. Drain the rabbit and pat dry. In a non-reactive bowl, mix the wine, vinegar, onion, salt, pepper, bay leaf and pickling spice. Add rabbit to the bowl and allow to marinate for no more than 24 hours. Drain the rabbit and reserve the marinate for later use. Pat the rabbit dry and toss in the flour to coat. In a dutch oven over medium heat, allow the butter to melt and warm before adding the rabbit to brown. Once the rabbit has browned, add the reserved marinate. Reduce the heat of the dutch oven to low-to-medium and allow the rabbit to simmer covered for roughly 1 ½ hours, or until the rabbit is tender. Once the rabbit is tender, mix the heavy and sour cream into the dish, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Whether you choose to prepare the classic version, my twist or your own interpretation, remember that food is about bringing people together. When you put your heart into the food you cook, the people you are cooking for will be appreciative of it – and you.

If you have any questions for me or would like to see me cover any particular dish in this column, feel free to write to me, care of this publication. From my kitchen to yours, it has been a pleasure to give you a peak into a chefs mind. Thank You

Jonathan Jolicoeur is a chef at A Tavola – an Italian restaurant on Church Street in Winchester – a restaurant that focuses of farm to table and regional Italian cooking. Jonathan was born in Somerville, lives in Woburn and is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College in Cambridge.

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