Rougier hare and its saupiquet
In the Aveyron and more particularly in the south Aveyron, notably the Rougier, the hare is considered as a hunting centrepiece.
The general way of cooking a hare is to stew it. But in the south of the département, it is considered as blasphemy to cook it in any other way that on a spit.
Obviously it needs to be accompanied by a sauce and the saupiquet is to hare what mint sauce is to lamb.
Here is the composition of the saupiquet: Braise the sliced onions, without letting them turn brown, with a branch of fresh thyme and a laurel leaf.
Once cooked, put them through a mincing machine (fine setting) with the hare’s liver from which the bile has been carefully removed; everything is put back in the casserole dish and kept hot. First seasoning is carried out: salt, pepper and a glass of good red wine. Leave to cook for a few moments whilst stirring with a wooden spoon. The saupiquet is finished by adding the hare’s blood that will have been kept.
Once this operation is done, the saupiquet should not be left to boil, the blood, instead of blending, would coagulate into small clots and the sauce wouldn’t look too good. The saupiquet is ready to accompany the pieces of cut and cooked hare. Seasoning is done according to taste, but it needs to be a bit spicy. Don’t forget to add a dash of raw vinegar and a few sprigs of fresh thyme at the last minute, as well as a part of the dripping, the rest will be used to baste the pieces of hare.
Cooking the hare on the spit: As soon as the hare has been put on the spit it is placed over the wood fire that has been well spread out to ensure regular cooking from the head to the thighs. After having been salted and covered in oil, it receives its first "bronzing" provoked by the flames of manouls vine shoots: cargnan vine shoots are recommended: it cooks for about a quarter of an hour, basted from time to time using a spoon attached to a long stick to avoid getting burnt. The oil that drips off is collected in the dripping tray.
It is now ready to receive the first “flaming”. This operation is done with a flambadou also known as a capuchin. The flambadou is a cast or wrought iron hollow cone with a hole at its tip, held at the end of a long iron handle, that becomes red hot in the fire and into which a piece of lard, preferably pork lard, that bursts into flames on contact with the red iron. The flambadou is run over the hare and drops of burning lard drop onto it to seize and cook the meat and also to perfume it.
You will be able to judge the state of cooking by touching the meatiest part of the thighs. When it starts to become firm, stop cooking after having performed a second “flaming”. Carve the hare. Place it on a hot dish. Once the hare has been carved, salt it lightly. If you find it hasn’t been cooked enough, leave it for a few seconds in the oven after having basted it with dripping.