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Lievre a la royale in Paris


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Could someone enlighten me -- what is this dish?

From The Old Foodie:

“You require a male hare, with red fur, killed if possible in mountainous country, of fine French descent (characterised by the light nervous elegance of head and limbs) weighing from 5 to 6 pounds, that is to say older than a leveret but still adolescent. The important thing is that the hare should have been cleanly killed and so not have lost a drop of blood.

The other ingredients are: 2-3 tablespoons goose fat, ¼ lb fat bacon rashers, ¼ lb bacon in one piece, 6 oz. of good wine vinegar, two bottles of Macon or Médoc (not less than two years old), 20 cloves of garlic, 40 cloves of shallot, and the usual carrot, onion stuck with a clove, and bouquet garni. And don’t forget the carefully saved blood of the hare, which you may mix with 2 or 3 small glasses of cognac if you so desire."

My French friends will kill me - but for me it is a mature hare plus lots of blood and fat, which is either headspinningly great or headspinningly headspinning.

John Talbott

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The fundamentals are that the hare is cooked in wine for a long time and the sauce is thickened with the hare's blood. There are two main versions -- one is a stew, and the meat comes off the bones easily after hours and hours of cooking. The other one is a more sophisticated ("Ali-Bab", "au torchon") recipe: the animal is boned, stuffed with foie gras, truffle and other good things. It's cooked slowly in wine (or better a mix of wine and hare stock, justifying the idea that you need several hares to make a good lièvre à la royale) and the end result looks like a big sausage served in thick slices with the blood-thickened sauce (essentially a reduction of the liquid the animal cooked in).

Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)
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The fundamentals are that the hare is cooked in wine for a long time and the sauce is thickened with the hare's blood. There are two main versions -- one is a stew, and the meat comes off the bones easily after hours and hours of cooking. The other one is a more sophisticated ("Ali-Bab", "au torchon") recipe: the animal is boned, stuffed with foie gras, truffle and other good things. It's cooked slowly in wine (or better a mix of wine and hare stock, justifying the idea that you need several hares to make a good lièvre à la royale) and the end result looks like a big sausage served in thick slices with the blood-thickened sauce (essentially a reduction of the liquid the animal cooked in).

...and how does the stew version compare to the standard dish of Civet de lièvre (a dish I have had in numerous places).

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Civet de lièvre is supposed to be thickened with blood too, after being cooked in red wine, but the hare is cut in pieces, is not deboned, and the cooking is not so long.

What makes lièvre en cabessal/à la royale specific is the deboning of the hare, the foie gras stuffing, the cooking of the hare in one piece and for a very long time. Foie gras-truffle stuffing is mandatory for lièvre en cabessal and I have never been served a lièvre à la royale without it, though it is absent from some recipes.

As Julot says, no truffles or foie gras are added in a civet.

Edited by Ptipois (log)
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Civet de lièvre is supposed to be thickened with blood too, after being cooked in red wine, but the hare is cut in pieces, is not deboned, and the cooking is not so long.

What makes lièvre en cabessal/à la royale specific is the deboning of the hare, the foie gras stuffing, the cooking of the hare in one piece and for a very long time. Foie gras-truffle stuffing is mandatory for lièvre en cabessal and I have never been served a lièvre à la royale without it, though it is absent from some recipes.

As Julot says, no truffles or foie gras are added in a civet.

Thanks. It is interesting that there seem to be two very different dishes that have he same name. The "stew" that is slowly cooked and the " torchon" where the hare is rolled around foie gras and truffles.

From my reading the Senator Courteaux's original recipe was very similar to a Civet, with a similar list of ingredients (no truffle or foie gras) but with a more complex and involved cooking method (although I have had deboned civets). The "torchon" version with added foie gas and truffle looks like quite a different dish, that has been developed from the rustic original by a succession of chefs.

I wonder how many restaurants serve a civet masquerading as a Lievre a la royal and happily charge the extra?

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I wonder how many restaurants serve a civet masquerading as a Lievre a la royal and happily charge the extra?

None that I know of.

As long as the dish involves hare, red wine, thickening with blood and lengthy cooking, The price should be more or less in the same range whether it is civet or lièvre à la royale. The difference, lying in the presentation, is not essential. The foie gras and truffles, when used, should make the price difference. Besides, civet de lièvre is harder to find in a restaurant than lièvre à la royale.

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I wonder how many restaurants serve a civet masquerading as a Lievre a la royal and happily charge the extra?

None that I know of.

As long as the dish involves hare, red wine, thickening with blood and lengthy cooking, The price should be more or less in the same range whether it is civet or lièvre à la royale. The difference, lying in the presentation, is not essential. The foie gras and truffles, when used, should make the price difference. Besides, civet de lièvre is harder to find in a restaurant than lièvre à la royale.

Pti, this absolutely comports with my limited experience.

Shot is also not an unwelcomed point of authenticity.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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This just came to mind: Seeing how I can't get anything of the sort in The States, bonus points to anyone who can direct me to a plate of lièvre à la royale.

I've had it at Petit Marguery...

As did I today and quite good it was: the good Sénateur Couteaux a la Poiterine came through. (Not as great as that at Pti's referenced Ecaille & Plume but not half bad either.)

John Talbott

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had one at l'Epigramme yesterday evening as a part of a special game menu they only served that night, so I don't know if they'll have it on the "standard" menu anytime soon...

I would really recommend the restaurant anyway, but that's another topic.

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Had one at l'Epigramme yesterday evening as a part of a special game menu they only served that night, so I don't know if they'll have it on the "standard" menu anytime soon...

I would really recommend the restaurant anyway, but that's another topic.

This topic has generated so much interest I hesitate to merge it with the other one on game/gibiers but there's much overlap so folks should check both out, for instance on Epigramme's lievre which in 2007 was available at lunch as well.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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It was also offered as the "Gibier du jour" at Violon d'Ingres yesterday (October 11) dinner. Can't comment on how it was, though I'm sure it was probably very good; the server seemed to recommend it with particular fondness.

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This was Besson's take on it today:

DSC_0017.JPG

It was pretty perfect, less intense than in Saulieu but more classic, and probably more civilised (I remember keeping the taste of the one in Saulieu in my mouth for days) while still very gamey and death-tasting. Besson, as old-style master, managed a stuffing that plays on texture remarkably well and bring the fat that is totally absent from the hare's flesh. The cooking is perfect, with profound, symbiotic tastes and not a trace of dryness.

Pasta on the side is stuffed with mushrooms.

Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)
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Pretty smart photographing. Are you taking lessons? :wink:

Thanks for the update - those cannelloni look great!

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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From the Senderens website:

Aujourd'hui, nous vous proposons à la Carte

Lièvre à la Royale,

d'après la recette d'Antonin Carême pour le Prince de Talleyrand

80 €

(paired with)

Coteaux du Rhône Saint-Maurice "Renaissance" 2000 - D. Viret

La puissance et l'onctuosité du lièvre requiert des vins d'équlibre qui,

tout en ayant la structure nécessaire, savent se montrer rafraîchissants

12 €

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Last week at Chez l’Ami Jean, their lievre travaillé puis roulé farci, cuit du cochon at 35€ was utterly superb. (I’ve forgotten how to post a photo on eGullet, so click here.) Other aspects of the meal, service and ambience were less satisfactory; I’ll be writing it up.

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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It is hardly questionable that the current chef at Senderens is not good enough to fully express Senderens' genius (but the chef pastry is). Nevertheless, and despite a slight overcooking dryness, this lièvre was the best I ever had (and desserts were wonderful as always).

Senderens serves a slice that is larger than Besson, and not covered with the sauce at the beginning, so you can see the carefully composed stuffing. While some stuff is blended, the stuffing is mainly made of big pieces of hair, foie gras, truffle...

DSC_0021.jpg

The sauce is a killer. It's amazingly good and intense, and precise, with every flavour distinctly present: blood, hare stick, truffle juice, brandy.... They have a the good taste of bringing it (and more) in a pot and I'm sorry my tongue is not longe nough to clean the inside.

DSC_0026.jpg

I recently wrote a paper about what Nouvelle Cuisine was/is, and it's like Senderens and Besson wanted to illustrate it: While both were delicious, Besson's was more tender with blended, merged tastes and a subtle, old-style harmony. In

Senderens', every bit was clearly identified, including in the sauce as I said, and the result was an harmony between elements that remain identifiable as opposed to a dish that seems to be suis generis.

(More Senderens pictures at picasaweb.google.fr/zejulot/senderens)

Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)
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