Lepre Selvatica – Wild Herbed Rabbit alla Mrs BYF

2017-10-03 - Wild Rabbit

Today’s lunch

I was given a lovely, lean, young rabbit that was hunted yesterday. We decided to have it for lunch today, without marinating or ageing it. We had not shopped in a while and had used up all the home grown garlic, so Mrs BYF asked me to pick a few handfuls of all the herbs I have growing in the garden. This is a great pleasure to do, because herbs grow very well in Dunedin. The resulting dish, which she called ‘Herbed Rabbit’ was one of her memorable efforts. The meal cost us the price of a serve of polenta and the 2 Italian sausages (made by me) that were leftovers from a birthday party.
Recipe: Herbed Rabbit ( you can use chicken also)
 
1  rabbit skinned, cleaned  washed and cut up. Save the livers, heart and kidneys for
    killer pasta sauce later.
1  small leek, sliced finely, including the green tops
1  bowl (about 4 handfuls) of all the fresh herbs you have, chopped fine. I picked
    rosemary, thyme, marjoram,  sage, oregano and chives
    Salt, pepper and a tiny pinch of chili flakes
    A splash of red wine
    Juice of 2 lemons
    A splash of apple cider vinegar (made by me)
2  leftover Italian sausages. I have given the recipe elsewhere on the blog but you may
    want to just buy some
Brown the rabbit pieces thoroughly in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Use a deep pan that can fit the rabbit without overlapping. Remove the browned rabbit from the pan and keep warm. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the leeks and herbs and fry for a few minutes. Put the rabbit pieces and the sliced sausages on top of the herbs, add the vinegar and lemon juice and a bit of water to the pan and cover. Cook at medium heat, turning occasionally and adding a few spoonfuls of water to prevent sticking. The completed dish will have no water in the pan, just the rich green herby sauce. You can blend the sauce briefly if your don’t like the bits of herb under your teeth.
The taste of this dish made with what we had on hand surpassed our expectations by far. We finally used up a huge amount of the herbs, this time of the year and attained our goal of eating great food to almost no cost.
Enjoy with some heavy homemade red wine!

Californian Quail

California Quail, Point Reyes National Seashore

A male California Quail stands on a rock overlooking his covey.

The disappearance of Californian quails is a general trend all over New Zealand – Loss of habitat, chemical pollution and predators. I am presently engaged in a project to breed and release some 1,000 birds every year for ten years – a very ambitious project with a high possibility of failure. The only advantages we have, are – 1. A “suitable” habitat of about 100,000 hectares. 2. A lot of enthusiasm and able people.
 
Birds and eggs are virtually unavailable in New Zealand because they are rare and not easy to breed (compared to other quail species that I regularly breed). That is why we are trying at present to build numbers and breeding lines for our project which has been going for its third year now – yes we are making progress and hopefully shall have the first fully fledged release by the end of this season.
 
We are still building numbers and lines and would be interested in obtaining some birds and / or eggs and if you are aware of any, please let me know.
 
Thanking you
 
Back Yard Farmer
Tel – 0211 34 14 52 / 03 473 0521
byf@backyardfarmer.co.nz
9 Lucan Street
North East Valley
Dunedin 9010
Otago
New Zealand

Swan Sausages

2016-05-29 - Black Swan

Following another successful day of hunting ducks, I returned home not only with a few ducks, but also with some swans. Being a keen sausage maker, I thought it appropriate to make my first ever swan sausages. After spending considerable time “hunting” through all of my cook books, it was not a huge surprise to come up empty handed for swan sausages. I adapted some wild duck recipes and made a few kilograms each of basil and sun dried tomato, sage and swan and pork sausages. After tasting all of these, which are all very delightful, I came to the conclusion that the swan taste is very strong and over powering camouflaging the subtle tastes of the spices and next time I shall have to blend it with some milder meats.  Overall a very interesting and delightful experience.

Duck Hunting in Middlemarch

I was very fortunate to be invited for my first New Zealand duck hunt last Saturday. We prepared our Maimais on Friday and was out before light on Saturday. Even if there were to be no ducks, the shear beauty and pleasure of being out in the wild was adequate compensation. We were fortunate to get our share of ducks early on Saturday and enjoyed the views, walks along the streams and fresh air for the rest of the day. Sunday was duck cleaning day and after a few technical hitches, everything went smoothly and soon we had enough duck meat to last a long time. I was fortunate as nobody was interested in the offal and had it all to myself. As soon as got home I made it all into coratella, ate some and packed the rest into about 30 portions for the freezer – wonderful. The ducks were cut into portions, vacuum packed and frozen. I gave some meat to a few close friends and my neighbor across the road tried it the very next day and gave me the recipe for slow basted duck breast with dried figs, a recipe she created herself, which apparently was absolutely delicious.

RECIPE

Braise some onion and garlic in olive oil in a oven proof pot. Dust the duck breasts in flour and brown in a separate pan in olive oil. Now put the duck in with the onion and garlic and ad passata (tomato sauce) wine, chicken stock, dried figs, salt and pepper and bake in the oven for four to five hours at 120C. Turn and baste every so often.

Duck breasts and figs are on the menu for later in the week!

There were various hunting groups in the area and Saturday evening we all congregated to discuss the day and watch rugby together. I was disappointed to learn that many hunters would take breasts only and a few groups even discarding up to 60 entire ducks unused to only go out the next morning and kill some more. I am used to harvest for the pot only, waste nothing, and leave some for next year.

Rabbit Coratella with Artichokes

2016-01-13 - Rabbit and Artichoke Coratella

 

Old recipes that use meats that are these days regulated to the garbage or pets abound in Italy. The problem is that offal is not generally obtainable. Slaughtering my own animals has huge advantages!

With a few rabbit carcasses in the freezer, we decided to make a dish with the coratella (heart, liver, spleen, kidneys and lungs) incorporating some of the artichokes that we now have in abundance. Mrs BYO created the dish and did the cooking, serving it with the staple of the North, polenta. It was a delicious meal and we have all of the rabbit left to feed the more fussy members of the tribe.

CORATELLA CON CARCIOFI

As many cleaned rabbit offals as you can get your hands on, but at least 4, cut in small pieces

1/2 cup rabbit fat. The fat surrounding the kidneys are the best. alternatively use 1/2 cup olive oil

4 large garlic cloves roughly chopped

2 tablespoons of finely chopped rosemary

white wine

4 or 5 artichokes, cleaned and prepared, cut into 4 sections. All the green leaves of the artichoke must be snapped off and the choke removed, leaving only the tender white parts of the leaves and the heart

salt and pepper

Heat the fat in the pan on a low heat until the fat runs clear and only small bits of browned fat remains in the pan. Saute the garlic and rosemary in the fat until the garlic is golden. Add the rabbit, season with salt and pepper and brown everything quickly over a high heat. Sprinkle with a bit of wine. Lower the heat and cook the rabbit for about 10 minutes, regularly sprinkling the meat with wine, then add the artichokes. Sprinkle wine generously and cook uncovered, turning the artichokes often. When the artichokes are tender, serve  hot with polenta or bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calabrian Stewed and Roasted Hare – Liepru all’Antica

2014-03-04 - Stewed Rabbit

Rabbit is another of my favorites and fortunately readily available if not farmed yourself, and though Artusi mentions a well-to-do person’s being put off by the latter, they have always been popular out in the country because they’re easy to catch or raise. This recipe for stewed and roasted hare is Calabrian, but works equally well for rabbit, chicken or even quail

1 hare, chopped

2 Sweet Red onions, sliced

3 bay leaves

4 sprigs mint

Marjoram to taste

Thyme to taste

Flour

Slices of toasted bread

1/4 cup olive oil or rendered lard

A bottle of Ciró Rosso or any other good red wine

Salt

Marinate the hare in the wine with the onions and the herbs for two days, turning the meat occasionally.

Pat the meat dry, flour it, and brown it in the fat, using an oven-proof pot. Once the pieces are all browned stir in the marinade, bring to a simmer (you may want to heat the marinade separately while the meat is browning), and transfer the hare to a preheated 350 F (175 C) oven. Roast until done, spooning the liquid over the meat occasionally to keep it moist.

When the meat is done remove it to a platter and keep it warm – strain the liquid and reduce it over medium heat until it is quite thick. Spread it over the toasted bread, and serve it with the meat.

A wine? Another bottle or two of Ciró Rosso.