Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rabbit Chasseur

Here's rabbit braised; hunter style (chasseur is French for hunter). It's hunter style because the hunter catches the animal, and on their way back from hunting they gathered mushrooms.

Here we have rabbit hindquarters, fresh parsley, two roma tomatoes, 1/4 cup white wine (I prefer dry white vermouth, it gives it a bolder flavor), about 1/4 cup clarified butter, one shallot, 8 oz assorted mushrooms, 8 oz beef stock and 8 oz demi glace.

First, start the water boiling to blanch and shock the tomatoes so you can chop them up. Also, set the oven to 300 degrees.

Here's the rabbit hindquarters. This recipe works really well (almost better, I would say) with chicken leg and thigh (which you can buy in any store).

With the shallot, you want to finely mince it, and since it's a relative of the onion, you cut it up just the same way.

Slice off the blossom first . . .

then slice off the root end.

Slice it in half lengthwise . . .

And mince (1/16" squares).

I bought about a half pound of assorted mushrooms. On the left are shiitake, crimini in the middle and white button on the right.

Slice them up evenly; about 1/4" thick.

Season the rabbit with salt and pepper. Dredge (coat lightly) in flour if you prefer.

With the parsley, you want to remove the stems and just mince up the leaves.

Now, melt the butter in a heavy pan large enough to fit your meat product.

When the butter is melted and the pan is hot, add the rabbit.

You want to brown evenly on all sides.

You might want to stand them up on their sides so you can brown the sides.

When they are nicely browned, remove from the heat and cover so they stay warm.

The pan should still be hot, with quite a bit of fat in there, so add the minced shallot and mushrooms.

Toss to coat with the fat.

When the shallot is soft and has released its juices, add the wine.

Reduce this liquid by half over medium-high heat.

Next, add the demi glace and the beef stock.

Stir it all together well so it doesn't burn.

Add the meat product back in and bring up to a boil.

Once it boils, bring it down to a simmer . . .


And put it in the oven.

Now is a good time to do the tomato concasse.

You want to cook it until it's fork tender. For the rabbit; this took about an hour. If you were using chicken, it should take 30-45 minutes, but be careful, you don't want it to fall apart when you serve it.

Remove the meat from the pan.

And bring the sauce up to a boil so you can reduce it.

Add the parsley and tomato concasse.

Reduce the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon, and serve.


Crystal said...

I saw the words "hunter" and "gatherer" and I put my geeks on.

This is one of those scenarios where I envision the coevolution of taste with diet. There must be some degree of taste selection operating at the genetic, individual and population levels. How then, Neil, can we incorporate this concept into the evolution of our species.

For example, the "umami" flavor has taken over our population ('merica) to the expense of other flavors, cooking styles, and food structures. The Anthropocene's Cheetos (so good) have replaced our Pleistocene desire for nuts and berries. Cooking and food preparation are an enigma to large portions of our population (e.g., my entire cohort-excluding myself).

Numerous studies in epigenetics have shown that nutritional intake in utero and throughout early childhood actually shape our body's ability to process and store carbohydrates and fats (in particular) throughout our lifespan. A large part of this is our constant craving for umami - I wonder if this umami exists globally? Are there populations that don't get the Doritos and Little Debbie Snacks that would actually not have developed a taste for their savory goodness?

This is an interesting question because it equally incorporates biological and cultural variability. It also raises important issues about our children. Can we actually "train" them to enjoy carrots not because the food chart tells them they have a lot of fiber but because they actually enjoy the flavor.

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