Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Eve Dinner.

Mr. Hawthorne has had his eye on the packages of frozen rabbits at Harris Teeter for some time now. He noticed the sell-by date was 4-12-09 so we made the trip yesterday to pick up the last three packages of wascally wabbits for 30% off. So last night's Easter Eve dinner was 2.71 pounds of wabbit for $11.36 instead of $16.23. I love the irony of eating the Easter Bunny for my Easter Eve dinner. No wonder there were no baskets of candy and colored eggs at the Hawthorne household this morning.
For those of you who haven't had rabbit before, it's kind of like chicken but better. For those of you who haven't had alligator it does NOT taste like chicken and don't believe anybody who tells you it does. And frog does NOT taste like chicken either. For those of you who don't like gamy flavors, the rabbit isn't gamy, say like a deer is. And for those of you who haven't cooked rabbit before, Imonna show you how. And for those of you who have cooked rabbit before, Imonna show you how.
First, my marinade ingredients: 6 TB olive oil 4 cloves garlic 2 tsp dried rosemary 2 TB soy sauce 1 tsp fennel seeds zest of one lemon juice of one lemon bay leaves from my wonderful bay tree (If you notice the leaves, they have little yellow flowers now.)
I prefer to use a plastic bag for marinating. That way I don't have to clean a bowl and you can squish the meat and the marinade around and massage it better. First the olive oil went in.
I minced the garlic. Tip: Run your knife and fingers under warm water. Helps the garlic not to stick as much to the knife.
Garlic went in.
Dried rosemary from my garden went in.
Soy sauce.
Fennel seeds.
Grated zest of one lemon.
Juice of one lemon.
And finally, the bay leaves.
And here's little Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail onto my plate.
I put the wabbit pieces in my marinade and squished all around. I marinated it for about 3 hours, but you could do this overnight. Just keep squishing and massaging every now and then. While bunny was soaking in the juices, I started on the veggie portion.
Onions, carrots, and celery.
Sliced onions, carrots, and celery.
I put in about 2 TB butter and 2 TB olive oil in my hot pan and added the carrots when the butter started sizzling. Cooked for about 30 seconds. Then I added in the celery.
And the onions.
I cooked this for maybe 3 minutes over medium high heat, until I got some browning. Then set aside.
This is a quart of my beef consomme thawing out. If you don't make your own beef stock you could always use canned stock.
I scissored up about 6 ounces of bacon and cooked it. Removed the bacon and saved the grease, or "bacon joos" if you're in the Sandiverse.
Here's my seasoned flour: 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1/2 cup semolina flour (You don't have to use the semolina. But I like it.) hot paprika Cajun seasoning Lawry's seasoned pepper freshly ground salt and pepper
I took the meat out of the marinade and dried the pieces off with a paper towel.
Dredged through the seasoned flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
And browned in the hot bacon grease. I had to add some extra oil (canola).
Five minutes on each side worked for me.
Then brown the ends.
I placed the browned pieces in another deep pan and set aside while I browned the rest of the pieces. You're not frying the rabbit to cook it through. You're only browning it.
If you noticed the frying pan after doing the first batch, you'll see that it was a mess. So I heated up another pan, added canola oil, and browned the rest of the meat.
Five minutes each side over medium-high heat.
I added the rest of the wabbit pieces to my pot.
Then I added in my veggies.
The bacon bits went in.
I added in about 2 cups of white wine, a Chardonnay. I like this picture of the wine pouring out.
Then I added in the marinade and that's a little giblet coming out of the bag.
Finally I added my quart of beef consomme, brought it to a simmer, covered it, and simmered slowly until tender - about 25 minutes for me.
I removed it from the heat and after letting it sit for a bit, sopped up the grease on top with a paper towel. Next, I wanted to thicken it up.
I poured about two cups of the cooking liquid into another pan and heated it.
And I made a beurre manie with which to thicken it. (That's mahn-yay, since I don't know how to do the accent ague.) Equal parts butter and flour.
Best way to do this is by hand.
Drop the beurre manie by bits into the hot liquid ...
... whisking after each addition and cooking until thicken.
Then I poured the thickened liquid back into my pot.
All ingredients went back into a casserole dish.
Then I poured the broth over top.
I topped my little Bunny Foo Foo casserole with my herbed biscuit crust, gave it an egg wash glaze, and baked it in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned.
And here's my wabbit pie.
This was tender, succulent, juicy, flavorful, and, dare I say, delicious.
Ooooh. Lookie. You can just see all the flavors in the crust..
I'll give you the recipe for that yummy crust in my next post. So, until then, Happy Easter everyone.


Sara said...

This looks amazing, I've never cooked rabbit at home before. Happy easter!

Hairball T. Hairball said...

Wowser that looks good, Rosie!

Kathy said...

Yeah, I can totally see the whole "eating the Easter Bunny" thing. But that never bothered me as much as the traditional Easter lamb dinner. Wasn't Jesus the "Lamb of God", so if you eat lamb, especially at Easter, are you figuratively eating Jesus? T'aint fittin', jes' t'aint fittin'.

ps, I ate some lamb today.