I thought it was time to include a recipe for rabbit stew. Now some of you will want to stop right here.
And the rest of you who are still with me might want to rethink your decision.
There is just no two ways about it, La France is very hands on with their beasts. The fish come with scales, the chickens come with (at least some) feathers sticking out and the fatty tail and neck flap.
Rabbits come with heads.
It’s a law here, dating back to the War, one instated to prove that you are indeed buying a rabbit and not, for instance, a cat. (à la Barber of Seville).
Thanks, but I’d almost rather not know. And you? Sure you still want to cook like a frenchie?
You can’t handle the truth! (It’s been nice knowing all of you.)
It was quite a job to get this thing in pieces. I had to use a rubber glove to hold it because I couldn’t bear to touch … (shudder). And I had to supplement the carving with kitchen shears because my cleaver was so dull (hack, hack, hack).
But here it is in all its respectability, all signs of former life removed. I also put the liver aside.
Now let’s have a moment of silence in honor of Bugs.
Okay, fry up some bacon. Here it’s called “lardons,” which I can’t exactly say stirs envy. If it were regular bacon, I’d say use about 6-8 pieces that you’d break into bits.
Once cooked, I covered them with paper towels to soak up as much oil as I could, and washed the skillet.
Then put four heaping tablespoons of dijon mustard into the bowl with the rabbit, 1 tsp of salt and ½ teaspoon white pepper and mix it into the rabbit parts (use bare hands if you can stand it).
Cover the pieces with flour (which will thicken the liquid into a stew). I used gluten free, which is mainly corn starch.
Brown the pieces in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. That means the skillet should be very hot before you even put the meat in. I should have broken it up into two even batches, but instead I crammed the first batch into the skillet, leaving 4 remaining pieces that didn’t fit. I had to brown a second batch and ended up needing 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to keep the flour from burning.
Once the rabbit was browned, I put it directly into a larger pot and cut up 3 shallots.
Well, it was supposed to be 3 but I hadn’t realized what little ones the grocer had given me. Do pearl shallots exist? So I used seven.
And minced up 2 large cloves of garlic.
I sautéed those on low heat with the rest of the oil and browned bits in the skillet. I also added about a teaspoon of butter for taste. (I don’t think this recipe will make Weight Watchers any time soon).
I put the lardons (bacon), shallots and garlic over the rabbit pieces.
Then I went out to clip some bay leaves
and some sprigs of thyme.
And I poured about half a bottle of white wine over the stew pieces (we only have alcohol free in our house, so that’s what I used) plus a glassful of red that we had left over. Then I poured in 2 cups of water.
I made sure it boiled first, then I turned the heat down to simmer (covered) for an hour and 15 minutes.
Mushrooms. About four handfuls.
After the time had passed, I added the sliced mushrooms and the liver and simmered for 15 more minutes.
Then it was done.
I tasted it …. it seemed to be missing some flavor so I added one more heaping tablespoon of dijon mustard. Aah! Perfect.
And then I added ¼ cup of crème fraiche (you can use sour cream).
And that’s it, my fine friends.
So good over noodles.
So perfect on a day like today.
- 1 whole rabbit, covered in:
- 4 heaping T dijon mustard
- 1 t salt
- t pepper
- flour (as much as it takes)
- 6-8 slices bacon
- 3 large shallots
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 3 bay leaves
- fresh thyme
- bottle of wine
- 2 cups water