Wednesday, December 16, 2009

rabbit stew, Fidel Castro and the ice-cream van

Our freezer is fit to burst at the moment with all the meat we've been given in the last few days: wild boar from Roquin, half a goat from Mini-B, red deer from a jubilant Jean-Yves - who shot the only stag of the season* and his first in 20 years of hunting - and a rabbit from Pierre.

The goat was delivered in an old clapped-out ice-cream van that Mini-B is currently using to deliver hay to his cows now that all his tractors and his C15 are broken down. As if that wasn't ridiculous enough, he's grown a long beard that looks like a packet of dry Weetabix and taken to wearing combat gear (trousers held up with a bungee cord) and a military cap that make him look like a young Fidel Castro. He's a sight to behold driving round the village.

The rabbit from Pierre was still warm, having just been shot down by the lake, and after BB had skinned and jointed it I made a rabbit stew. Wild rabbit has a much stronger, gamier flavour than its farmed cousin and it went very well with olives in this recipe by Anthony Bourdain.

Lapin aux olives
Serves 4
4 rabbit legs
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
1 celery stick, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1½ cups white wine
flour for dredging, plus 1 tbsp
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
handful of pitted green olives
salt and pepper

1. Combine the rabbit with the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaves, herbs, peppercorns and wine. Marinate for 2 hours.

2. Drain the marinade and reserve the liquid and vegetables separately. Pat the rabbit dry, season with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. In a pan heat the olive oil until hot and add the butter then brown the rabbit on both sides until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes per side) and remove.

3. In the same pan, brown the vegetables from the marinade until caramelised, add tomato paste and flour then stir in the vinegar and marinade liquid. Cook until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Add the rabbit pieces and cook over a low heat until the meat is tender (about 1 hour).

4. Remove the rabbit and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid and return to the pan. Add the rabbit, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper and stir in the olives.

*Gun hunting is tightly controlled in France in terms of the species and number that may be hunted and is managed at a regional level according to the ecological needs of the area and its animal life. In our commune this season, the quota is 4 red deer (one stag, one doe and two fawns) and 14 roe deer - with an unlimited number of wild boar.

1 comment:

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

It was fun reading about the generous characters in your village and your recipe looks superb!