Down the Rabbit Hole…

Don’t like rabbit. To be honest, I rarely like meat unless it’s been processed till it is completely indistinguishable such as chicken nuggets or frankfurters. Crispy duck at Mr Chow’s in Knightsbridge was the defining moment of my conversion to non-vegetarianism on the wake of my acceptance of the French culinary school offer, but ever since then I’ve been largely put off by most meat. Is my non-veggieness just a stint? Would I bother forcing myself to try to aquire a taste for rabbit, pigeon, agneau de lait or pork? I’d like to pat myself on the back for not being too phased by watching a whole lamb being butchered, pulling guts out of ducks, or decapitating rabbits (considering my flood of tears in the second week when given a bucket of crabs to kill), but this is hardly an achievement in the culinary universe.

The two rabbit recipes were similar in execution, but I struck out on both. Some observations:
1. Rabbit is a strange one. One needs to cook it long enough so that it goes over its initial dryness and starts to get tender. Hence, one might assume that overcooking rabbit is the way forward. In this case, one must not assume. There is such a thing as overcooking rabbit. It starts falling apart into chunks or dissolving into an unrecognisable heap of flesh.
2. It needs to be submerged in liquid the entire time it is cooking (top-ups of stock or water is a must throughout) otherwise the uncovered bits go dry.
3. The garniture should be a size that can sustain being roasted at a high temperature for 10 minutes in the oven with not much fat. If there’s too much fat, the sauce will be greasy. If the garniture is cut too small, it’ll be burnt to a crisp and the sauce will taste like soot.

And why does Bugs Bunny not look like a real rabbit at all? His eyes are too big for his face. He’s also actually very freakishly tall (as tall as Elmer Fudd) with large clumsy feet, for what is essentially a part-time subterranean mammal. And he is way cuter than the rabbits I cut up, which were more extra-terrestrial alien humanoids from the X-Files than cute ol’ Bugs.

Bugs Bunny

Real Rabbit

Fricassée de Lapin, Rable Farci, Linguini aux Tomate Séché

Lapin Sauce Moutarde, Pommes Fondante

Fricassée de Lapin, Rable Farci, Linguini aux Tomate Séché

2 whole rabbit legs, cut into two
1 rabbit sadle
1 rabbit liver, ciseler
2 rabbit kidneys
2 rabbit shoulders
1 rabbit ribcage, cut into four
250g bacon, lardons
8 mushrooms, chopped
2 shallots, ciseler
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bouquet garni
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup white wine
100g cream
150g veal meat
15g whole egg
Parsley, 1 bunch
Rosemary, 4 sprigs
Sundried tomatoes, small handful, brunoise
Thyme
1/4 tbsp pesto
1/4 cup Porto
1/2 shallot, ciseler
Olive Oil
Caul fat
280g linguini

1. Heat some vegetable oil in a cast iron pot. Sear the seasoned rabbit on all sides and add in a knob of butter for colour. Remove and reserve warm.
2. Add in the garniture (shallots, bacon, mushrooms) and roast for a few minutes. Add the rabbit back in. Sprinkle the flour over the rabbit and roast in the oven for 7 minutes till the flour is slightly browned (this is called singer). Deglace with the white wine. Add in enough stock or water to cover the meat. Throw in the bouquet garni and place the lid on the pot. Cook in the oven for 2-2.5 hours at 180C. Keep checking on the liquid level to top up when needed.
3. Lay open the sadle. Cover with cling film and flatten lightly with a cleaver.
4. Sautee the liver with 1/2 shallot in some olive oil. Season. Deglace with Porto and mix in the chopped parsley.
5. Blend the veal, egg and cream together. Mix the liver, and chopped rosemary in to make a farce. Put in a piping bag and pipe in the middle of the sadle. Place the kidneys over the farce. Season with salt and pepper. Fold over the sadle flaps, wrap in caul fat and roll in cling film, tying it evenly with string. Roast in some vegetable oil till coloured evenly and finish to cook in the oven with a few sprigs of rosemary and 2 cloves of garlic.
6. Boil linguini till al dente. Toss with pesto, sundried tomatoes and some olives.
7. When the rabbit is done (touch to see if the meat is tender), remove the meat and reserve warm. Reduce the sauce. Check seasoning. Strain out the garniture. Pour sauce over the rabbit legs and shoulders and serve with a slice of the sadle and linguini.

Lapin Sauce Moutarde
2 whole rabbit legs, cut into two
1 rabbit sadle, cut into 3
2 rabbit shoulders
1 rabbit rib cage, cut into 4
1 onion, hacher
3 shallots, hacher
1 carrot, mirepoix
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup white wine
1.5L chicken stock, or water
1 bouquet garni
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
100g butter
100g flour

1. Heat some vegetable oil in a cast iron pot. Sear the seasoned rabbit on all sides and add in a knob of butter for colour. Remove and reserve warm.
2. Add in the garniture (onions, shallots, carrot) and roast for a few minutes. Add the rabbit back in. Sprinkle the flour over the rabbit and roast in the oven for 7 minutes till the flour is slightly browned (this is called singer). Deglace with the white wine. Add in enough stock or water to cover the meat. Throw in the bouquet garni and place the lid on the pot. Cook in the oven for 2-2.5 hours at 180C. Keep checking on the liquid level to top up when needed.
3. When rabbit is cooked, remove the meat and reserve warm. Reduce sauce. Strain out the garniture and bring back to a simmer.
4. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan. Whisk in the flour till it becomes pale and chill.
5. Whisk the roux in the sauce to thicken the consistency. Add in the mustard, stir well. Heat the meat in the sauce and serve.

Comments
3 Responses to “Down the Rabbit Hole…”
  1. Matt says:

    Man, rabbits are a hassle. I remember cooking a rabbit ragu for Kelly ages ago, and getting all the meat off was such a massive hassle. Worth it, but really fiddly. I talked to Patrick last night, Kelly and I will book our flights etc. this week x

  2. Patrick says:

    I think you mean to say that you have a five year olds taste in meat. Hot dogs, burgers and fried chicken correct?

  3. Shmii says:

    Super excited about your visit Matt! I’m trying deperately to acquire a taste for all these funny meats but it’s a painful and arduous process.
    Patrick, I will beat you.

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