We decided to take a few hares before the newly released virus gets to them. After cleaning them well and ageing in the fridge for some days, it was time to taste.
Lepre al Limone ( Rabbit with Lemon )
- 1 Hare
- Half a cup of flour
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Three tablespoons of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Two table spoons of butter
- One handful of garlic
- One fresh hot chili
- 2 Small fresh lemons
- Good stock
- Heat the oven to 200 C.
Cut the rabbit into portions and dry very well with paper napkins. Mix the flour, salt and pepper and dust the rabbit very well. Heat a cast iron or heavy based pan that can fit all the rabbit pieces, add two table spoons of good olive oil, shake off the flour and fry the rabbit until well browned. When the rabbit is golden, transfer the the pieces to a roasting pan. Add one tablespoon of butter and place in the centre the oven. Discard the contents of the frying pan and wipe clean. While the rabbit is roasting in the oven, add one table spoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil to the cleaned pan. Add a handful of fresh garlic and as much chili as you can take, some whole fresh lemons cut into pieces (I was fortunate to have harvested some small sweet lemons from my tree the day before) and cook on low heat until the garlic is translucent before adding the contents of the pan to the hare in the roasting pan. Baste and turn the hare often and keep moist with good stock – about a spoon full at a time, adding stock when the hare appears too dry. Don’t add too much stock at a time, you never want to poach the hare (again I had very good stock on hand from pigeons I cooked the day before). Depending on the age of the hares it may take up to an hour before they are tender, but remember to keep it moist and toss frequently.
Enjoy with your favorite starch (we had potatoes and spinach from the garden)
Never forget the good home made wine. I tried the new cherry wine for the first time and Mrs BYF the new Rhubarb wine.
La fiera di San Giuseppe a Brembio
I attended a Rabbit Exibition / Show in Brembio, Italy yesterday and enjoyed it a lot. Not only were the rabbits of exceptional quality, but it is also interesting to see the information provided and transparency of judgement for each animal.
There were rabbits, equipment, feed, housing and much more on display, but I also enjoyed all the rabbit dishes and have over consumed, but luckily there was enough wine to balance the meat consumption. My favorits were Rabbit Salami and Rabbit Ripieni.
I attach a few photographs and it interesting to note the New Zealand White and New Zealand Red rabbits. The Flemish Giants are absolutely beautiful, but I liked the Hares a lot.
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
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.
In the Italian Viterbo area where this recipe stems from, the term “porchetta”, which means roasted pig, is applied to any dish that use wild fennel, being it fresh or dried flowers. The wild flowers should not be confused with fennel seeds.
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I am fortunate to have access to hunting areas and friends that hunt rabbits with me. I also breed rabbits for the table on a regular basis. Last week, I could not make it to the hunt and my friend was good enough to bring the only Hare they shot for me to cook. I also have a good friend across the road that showed me the wild fennel growing in the old quarry across the road, so I had assembled all the ingredients for my dish of wild hare with wild fennel!
Wild Hare with Fennel
One large Hare, cleaned, gutted and washed
Heart, liver and kidneys of the Hare (Coratella) – Cleaned, washed and cubed or minced
Extra Virgin olive oil
Six large sage leaves
4 Garlic cloves – cleaned and crushed
1 Cup dry white wine (the best is from Orvieto)
2 Medium potatoes peeled and cubed
2 Slices of Prosciutto or Pancetta (home made if possible)
1 handful of rosemary leaves
Half a handful of fresh Fennel Flowers
12 Black Olives – pitted
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 150C. Heat some olive oil in a heavy pan and ad the coratella, sage, half the garlic, salt and pepper. Brown the coratella, add the wine that you have not drunk yet and allow it to evaporate. Ad the potatoes and mix through, then take it off the heat. Wrap the coratella mixture in the prosciuto. Stuff the hare with the fennel, rosemary and wrapped coratella. Sow the rabbit up so the stuffing would not fall out. Put some olive oil in a heavy oven pan large enough to take the whole hare. Add the hare to he pan with the rest of the garlic, salt and pepper. Roast the hare about two hours. Halfway through the roasting process, add the olives and the rest of the wine you have not drunk. Turn it once or twice and baste it every so often. If the rabbit legs look dry, wrap the leg ends in aluminium foil.
Do not forget the home made red wine!
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
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.
Following my very unsuccessful rabbit breeding effort I have placed the plump doe with a hired stud and am hoping for the best (cost me a lot of money). Now for the Buck that was actually a Doe (I think) I have allocated a new abode and re-categorised her as a Breeder.
After everything calmed down I again became suspicious about the sex of the ‘new’ breeding doe and decided to first consult Google on how to sex your rabbits and came across a very handy you tube demonstration. I shared the article with a couple of my friends to get their opinion and was warned to be careful as an angry doe can be vicious and mean (like most females). Me being a seasoned farmer and rabbit breeder, I caught the lady for inspection – the long and the short of the story is she disapproved of the procedure and now look at my arm!!
I have never thought that my first biology lesson in year four would haunt me 60 years later. Anyhow my rabbit operation is very simple. I breed for the pot only and have three does and one buck that I mate once every two months. Every doe breeds twice a year which gives me 6 – 8 rabbits after sales and replacements for the pot every 8 weeks. I replace the older does every so often with a good specimen out of a litter and replace the buck with a new purchase as frequently as required to introduce new genes. When a friend of mine said that she has a New Zealand White buck and we should swap bucks as our breeding animals were not related, I thought it a great way to introduce fresh genes into both our operations. She was kind enough to bring her young man around and took my old buck away. I had a doe to breed and, as I normally do, I placed the buck with the doe for 25 days. When I moved the buck to his own cage I was certain that some days later I would have a litter. Last week it was time to slaughter and I butchered all the young ones except a very good looking young doe that I kept for breeding. The following day the buck’s 25 days of pleasure was up and I removed him from the doe. I noticed that even though still young, he did not put on much weight during the 25 days. At first I thought he must have over worked himself and I was now hoping for large litters, but to my dismay on closer inspection found my buck to be a doe. Inspecting the real doe, of course she was not pregnant but very nice and plump. I now have four empty does and no buck – what a farming fiasco! My teacher in year four told me that if you want to breed farm animals you should have boys and girls – only now do I understand what he was saying. I am now desperately searching for a virile buck – four lovely young ladies waiting!