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eG Cook-Off #86: Rabbit


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When I left off with the pappardelle with rabbit ragù and peaches in Marc Vetri's Mastering Pasta (Recipe available online in this excerpt), I had braised the meat and pulled it from the bones. The meat was moist and tasty enough but it was quite light, lacked umami and acid and didn't really hang together as a sauce.

IMG_3557.thumb.jpeg.8d72e780c38c47bed827117d7baba381.jpeg

I packed it up in the fridge and thought about ways to fix it...mushrooms? a bit of country ham?  

Yesterday, I decided to go ahead with one serving as written before I made changes aside from taking @heidih's suggestion to use mango instead. 

I used the egg pasta dough from Vetri's book to make the pappardelle.  As soon as the pasta is cooked, it gets transferred to the warm ragu, butter, olive oil and a bit of pasta cooking water get added and tossed over low heat to form a sauce.  Parm goes in off the heat and finally the sliced peaches (mango).  Darn if it wasn't just a peach 🙃

IMG_3572.thumb.jpeg.cc044544aa9335d2291cd4002c6bdccb.jpeg

I thought it might taste strange but I loved the contrast of the sweet/tart fruit. A little bit of diced country ham added in the beginning would not be a bad thing but it's pretty darn good as is.  Looking forward to trying it during peach season!  

 

Edited to add that I'm going to freeze the meat in single-serving packets.  It will be nice to pull one out to thaw while I make some pasta and toss it together for a quick meal.  I wouldn't rule out a rabbit ragu pizza either!

 

Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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1 hour ago, blue_dolphin said:

When I left off with the pappardelle with rabbit ragù and peaches in Marc Vetri's Mastering Pasta (Recipe available online in this excerpt), I had braised the meat and pulled it from the bones. The meat was moist and tasty enough but it was quite light, lacked umami and acid and didn't really hang together as a sauce.

IMG_3557.thumb.jpeg.8d72e780c38c47bed827117d7baba381.jpeg

I packed it up in the fridge and thought about ways to fix it...mushrooms? a bit of country ham?  

Yesterday, I decided to go ahead with one serving as written before I made changes aside from taking @heidih's suggestion to use mango instead. 

I used the egg pasta dough from Vetri's book to make the pappardelle.  As soon as the pasta is cooked, it gets transferred to the warm ragu, butter, olive oil and a bit of pasta cooking water get added and tossed over low heat to form a sauce.  Parm goes in off the heat and finally the sliced peaches (mango).  Darn if it wasn't just a peach 🙃

IMG_3572.thumb.jpeg.cc044544aa9335d2291cd4002c6bdccb.jpeg

I thought it might taste strange but I loved the contrast of the sweet/tart fruit. A little bit of diced country ham added in the beginning would not be a bad thing but it's pretty darn good as is.  Looking forward to trying it during peach season!  

 

Edited to add that I'm going to freeze the meat in single-serving packets.  It will be nice to pull one out to thaw while I make some pasta and toss it together for a quick meal.  I wouldn't rule out a rabbit ragu pizza either!

 

How wonderful.  I would have never thought of pairing all those ingredients together, but it obviously works.  

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A French friend once cooked me a wonderful dish called Lapereau Bouree de Pruneux or Rabbit Stuffed with Prunes from Richard Olney's Lulu's Provençal Table: The Exuberant Food and Wine from Domaine Tempier Vineyard (1994) (eG-friendly Amazon.com link).

 

It is basically roasted rabbit with prunes which have been soaked in red wine then stuffed with foie gras mixed with the bunny's liver.

The recipe is not online that I  can see, but it is well worth tracking down the book (which contains a few rabbit recipes, including my go to rabbit with mustard recipe.)

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Sigh. A perusal of all the grocery stores in my town show no rabbit to be found. Even my Asian market, which usually has stuff I can't get anywhere else, let me down. Doggone it.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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China consumes around 63%* of all the rabbit consumed worldwide, and of that amount (about 235 million bunnies a year), 66% is eaten in Sichuan. So, I had a look through my Chinese-language cookbooks for recipes. Among those listed are:

 

Hand Pulled Rabbit

Chillied Rabbit Slivers

Pepper Taste Rabbit

Palace Rabbit

"Crooked Mouth" Rabbit Head

Sichuan Pepper Rabbit

Stir Fried Rabbit Cubes

ZiGong Cold Rabbit

Rabbit and Taro Hotpot

Chilli Fried Rabbit Cubes

Xingguo Hare

 

If any catch your eye, let me know and I'll expand on the details.

 

* and consumption is rising, partly because of African swine fever causing a shortage of pork, leading to higher prices. China is now importing rabbits from Europe (especially France) reversing the traditional trade. When I last lived in Europe, all supermarket rabbit meat was imported from China - no longer.

 

 

 

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

China consumes around 63%* of all the rabbit consumed worldwide, and of that amount (about 235 million bunnies a year), 66% is eaten in Sichuan. So, I had a look through my Chinese-language cookbooks for recipes. Among those listed are:

 

Hand Pulled Rabbit

Chillied Rabbit Slivers

Pepper Taste Rabbit

Palace Rabbit

"Crooked Mouth" Rabbit Head

Sichuan Pepper Rabbit

Stir Fried Rabbit Cubes

ZiGong Cold Rabbit

Rabbit and Taro Hotpot

Chilli Fried Rabbit Cubes

Xingguo Hare

 

If any catch your eye, let me know and I'll expand on the details.

 

* and consumption is rising, partly because of African swine fever causing a shortage of pork, leading to higher prices. China is now importing rabbits from Europe (especially France) reversing the traditional trade. When I last lived in Europe, all supermarket rabbit meat was imported from China - no longer.

 

 

 

I'd love to hear more about Xingguo hare. I don't think I've ever seen any non-European hare dishes.

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46 minutes ago, jmacnaughtan said:

 

I'd love to hear more about Xingguo hare. I don't think I've ever seen any non-European hare dishes.

 

Ok. This appears to come from Xingguo in Jiangxi in eastern China, yet most of the ingredients are Sichuanese staples.

 

I must stress that I've never cooked or eaten this, so I can only explain what the recipe says (without translating it - copyright). The ingredients are:

 

500g hare meat

50g Hangzhou chilies (Hangzhou is also in the east.)

40g wild chilies

 

ginger

spring onion (scallion)

doubanjiang (Sichuan bean paste)

dried Sichuan facing heaven chilies

star anise

cooking wine

stock

salt

MSG

rock sugar

soy sauce

oyster sauce

vegetable oil

 

If I haven't mentioned quantities, that's because the recipe doesn't!

 

Hangzhou peppers are long thin green chilis - relatively mild. Image.

 

Wild peppers are smaller, also green and usually hot. Image.

I'd say any similar heat chilies you have access to will be fine. I can't get the Hangzhou chilies here, either.

 

Here is a paraphrased version of the method.

The hare is blanched and the first two chilies cut into small round slices.

 

The ginger, sprng onion, doubanjiang, dried facing heaven chilies and star anise are stir-fried until fragrant. Cooking wine, stock, chillies and hare are added and everything brought to a boil. Salt, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce and MSG are added, then everything simmered until cooked through.

 

Here is a low-res image of the book's illustration of the final dish. I think this is covered by "fair use".

 

1088037738_20210218_1745471.thumb.jpg.66ba93eea29aa4107b67804c818c1c00.jpg

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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4 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

Ok. This appears to come from Xingguo in Jiangxi in eastern China, yet most of the ingredients are Sichuanese staples.

 

I must stress that I've never cooked or eaten this, so I can only explain what the recipe says (without translating it - copyright). The ingredients are:

 

500g hare meat

50g Hangzhou chilies (Hangzhou is also in the east.)

40g wild chilies

 

ginger

spring onion (scallion)

doubanjiang (Sichuan bean paste)

dried Sichuan facing heaven chilies

star anise

cooking wine

stock

salt

MSG

rock sugar

soy sauce

oyster sauce

vegetable oil

 

If I haven't mentioned quantities, that's because the recipe doesn't!

 

Hangzhou peppers are long thin green chilis - relatively mild. Image.

 

Wild peppers are smaller, also green and usually hot. Image.

I'd say any similar heat chilies you have access to will be fine. I can't get the Hangzhou chilies here, either.

 

Here is a paraphrased version of the method.

The hare is blanched and the first two chilies cut into small round slices.

 

The ginger, sprng onion, doubanjiang, dried facing heaven chilies and star anise are stir-fried until fragrant. Cooking wine, stock, chillies and hare are added and everything brought to a boil. Salt, sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce and MSG are added, then everything simmered until cooked through.

 

Here is a low-res image of the book's illustration of the final dish. I think this is covered by "fair use".

 

1088037738_20210218_1745471.thumb.jpg.66ba93eea29aa4107b67804c818c1c00.jpg

 

That looks really interesting. What do you think it means by "cooked through"? Just-cooked, or pull-apart tender?

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9 minutes ago, jmacnaughtan said:

 

That looks really interesting. What do you think it means by "cooked through"? Just-cooked, or pull-apart tender?

 

I'd say pull-apart tender. They like their meat that way in China.

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So a question about the dish I'm planning on making, Rabbit in a Mustard Cream Sauce.  When you braise, do you stir in the cream and mustard into the pan juices just at the last minute so the cream doesn't separate?  Or, what about stirring the mustard into the rabbit and vegetables during braising, then the cream at the last minute before serving?

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50 minutes ago, David Ross said:

So a question about the dish I'm planning on making, Rabbit in a Mustard Cream Sauce.  When you braise, do you stir in the cream and mustard into the pan juices just at the last minute so the cream doesn't separate?  Or, what about stirring the mustard into the rabbit and vegetables during braising, then the cream at the last minute before serving?

 

I agree with @Shelby.

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1 hour ago, David Ross said:

So a question about the dish I'm planning on making, Rabbit in a Mustard Cream Sauce.  When you braise, do you stir in the cream and mustard into the pan juices just at the last minute so the cream doesn't separate?  Or, what about stirring the mustard into the rabbit and vegetables during braising, then the cream at the last minute before serving?

I tend to agree with @Shelby & @liuzhou but reading over the David Tanis recipe for Mustard Rabbit in the Oven from his book, A Platter of Figs (and available online here), I see he puts both the mustard and  crème fraîche right in the marinade that all goes into the oven together.  The book recommends crème fraîche but suggests heavy cream as an alternative. 

 

I have that recipe on my list to try so I'll be interested in what you decide.

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""  cream doesn't separate ""

 

its my understanding that high fat cream

 

has less a tendency to separate than lower fat versions.

 

at leas w acid , ie reduce wine ,  whipping cream is a better choice

 

then even heavy cream.  lighter cream will split.

 

Iv'e used whipping cream , and possibly heavy cream , in the past

 

when I make a pasta dish and want a wine flavored sauce

 

that creamy .

 

as I don't keep cream around , Ive found that full fat cream cheese

 

can be mixed w a little milk and that will work for the pasta sauce.

 

Im only after a coating , not a soup bowls worth.

 

what I don't know, is how the temperature of the solution

 

affects this :  how hot it the braise ?

 

boiling ?  just simmering ?

 

looking forward to your results.

 

I mention this as mustard is acidic.

 

at leasts the ones I have 

 

and acid + cream is something Ive worked with

 

w the results noted above.

 

 

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I prefer the "all in together" approach as I don't care so much about appearance as taste. I like the cream and mustard to really mingle with the protein. 

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22 hours ago, David Ross said:

So a question about the dish I'm planning on making, Rabbit in a Mustard Cream Sauce.  When you braise, do you stir in the cream and mustard into the pan juices just at the last minute so the cream doesn't separate?  Or, what about stirring the mustard into the rabbit and vegetables during braising, then the cream at the last minute before serving?

 

If you want some of the heat from the mustard, add some in right at the end. The pungency gets destroyed by heat.

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3 hours ago, jmacnaughtan said:

 

If you want some of the heat from the mustard, add some in right at the end. The pungency gets destroyed by heat.

Thanks I do that for sure.  

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Thanks for all the suggestions.  I'm going to combine techniques from two different recipes.  The David Tanis recipe suggested by 

On 2/19/2021 at 7:10 AM, blue_dolphin said:

I tend to agree with @Shelby & @liuzhou but reading over the David Tanis recipe for Mustard Rabbit in the Oven from his book, A Platter of Figs (and available online here), I see he puts both the mustard and  crème fraîche right in the marinade that all goes into the oven together.  The book recommends crème fraîche but suggests heavy cream as an alternative. 

 

I have that recipe on my list to try so I'll be interested in what you decide.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  I'm going to use techniques from two recipes, starting with the David Tanis recipe for Mustard Rabbit, then this recipe for Chicken Normandy.  Chicken Normandy (Braised Chicken Legs in Apple Cider & Brandy) - (eatingeuropean.com) I like the flavor of using apple cider with the rabbit.  I've also got to take a look at a braised chicken in cream sauce from my book Saveur Cooks French.  

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The rabbit is thawing today, then tommorrow will be a day of marinating, then braising on Monday.  This is the rabbit from a local supermarket.  It's just wrapped in plastic and had the price label on it, so that tells me they might get it locally.  I didn't ask the people at the meat counter.  If it was imported, it would have to be labeled as such, but regardless, I'm hoping this will be a good braise.  

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The rabbit weighed 3 lbs., and once unwrapped it looked like a nice big one.  Cost $20.38, so more than the local rabbit at $7, that I would have to drive 3 hours to and from to purchase.  Online plus shipping would have been close to $60.  I cut the rabbit into 8 pieces, the big back legs, cut the loin/saddle into 4 pieces.  The bigger pieces on the right in the photo are the back part of the loin.  Then the front legs and base of the neck that was kindly left on the rabbit.  The spices are garlic, peppercorns, sage and thyme, and mustard seeds.  Then I remembered one of my favorite spices for game, juniper berries.  Reminds me of the wild juniper berries my Grandmother used to collect on her ranch in Oregon and used in a venison stew.  Drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with salt, I'll let it marinate overnight.Rabbit and Spices.JPG

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That does look meaty. Looking forward to it. My instinct was domesticated rabbit is not "game" for juniper berries - BUT - I am looking forward to being "wrong." and to your dish. Tomorrow?

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On 2/28/2021 at 2:12 PM, heidih said:

That does look meaty. Looking forward to it. My instinct was domesticated rabbit is not "game" for juniper berries - BUT - I am looking forward to being "wrong." and to your dish. Tomorrow?

Yes should be tommorrow.  I'm combining two recipes and the ideas I've got.  

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I used a combination of two recipes, including the one for Mustard Rabbit that @blue_dolphin mentioned, then my own twists to give the dish some flavors of the Pacific Northwest, Braised Rabbit with Apples, Mustard and Cream.  It actually took more time to photograph and write-up the recipe than it did to braise it.  The rabbit was marinated overnight with onions, garlic, salt, peppercorns, juniper berries that I noticed on the spice rack, mustard seeds, thyme and sage.  Then on day two seasoned and dusted with flour, then browned in a Le Creuset Dutch Oven.

 

I added an apple brandy made by Clear Creek Distillery of Hood River, Oregon.  Originally they branded it as Calvados, but then the French got wind of it and the name had to be changed to simply apple brandy.  It's made with apples from Central Washington.  Then some Washington apple cider.  The rabbit only needed 40 minutes in the oven.  I took the rabbit and pearl onions out of the pot then reduced the braising liquid, stirred in cream and mustard.  Thank you for the suggestions on when to add the mustard and cream.  It thickened the sauce without curdling and added that mustard punch at the end.  I didn't probably need to, but I checked the rabbit with a thermometer and it was at 158.  So tender and delicious, a little like chicken thighs but with a hint of grass and hay.  

Rabbit and Spices.JPG

 

Braised Rabbit with Apples, Mustard and Cream.JPG

 

For Marinating the Rabbit-

1 rabbit, cut into 8 pieces

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tbsp. black peppercorns

1 tbsp. crushed juniper berries

1 tsp. mustard seeds

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

2 sprigs fresh sage

3 sprigs fresh thyme

 

For Braising the Rabbit-

1 tsp. each salt and black pepper

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup apple brandy substitute brandy

1 cup apple cider

1 tbsp. each chopped fresh sage and thyme

12 oz. pearl onions

1 Granny Smith appled, peeled, cored and cut into chunks

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

fresh thyme for garnish

fresh sage for garnish

 

Marinate the Rabbit-

-Place the rabbit pieces in a baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil, then sprinkle with salt. Add the black peppercorns, juniper berries and mustard seeds around the pieces of rabbit. Add the garlic, onion, sage and thyme. Cover the dish and refrigerate the rabbit and marinate overnight.

 

Braise the Rabbit-

-Heat the oven to 400. Rinse off the rabbit pieces and discard the spices, herbs, garlic and onions. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper, then dust with flour, shaking off the excess.

-Add the olive oil to a Dutch Oven over medium heat, then add the rabbit pieces. Brown the rabbit pieces on all sides, about 4 minutes. Pour in the apple brandy and apple cider, then add the pearl onions. Cover the Dutch oven and braise the rabbit for 45 minutes. Check the rabbit, it should register 160 on a meat thermometer.

-While the rabbit is in the oven, caramelize the apples. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the apples. Saute the apples on all sides until golden, about 5 minutes.

-Bring the rabbit out of the oven. Place the rabbit pieces and pearl onions in a serving dish and tent with foil to keep warm. Place the Dutch Oven over medium-high heat on the stove and reduce the braising liquid for 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and mustard and continue to cook the sauce for 5 minutes until it thickens.

-Pour the sauce over the rabbit and pearl onions then garnish with fresh thyme and sage.

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Lovely rabbit and serving dish is no slouch either. Like your tying in WA and description of taste "slight grass and hay". I live in a place where the hay truck comes and that sweet scent is core for me, (not going to Martha's ham in hay).Thanks for the write up. oh - how did the juniper berries play?

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I admire your creativity, David. That looks delicious! Like Heidi, I admire the serving dish too.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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