The ITALIANS go INDIAN with KIWI Rabbits

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Being creative in the kitchen is a lot of fun, especially if one can rely on the hunter who often brings lovely, fresh, organic rabbit. He hunts on properties where insecticides are not used, and the grass is not sprayed with hormones and other awful things.  Mrs BYF has always loved chicken tikka saag, with saag in restaurants being mostly spinach, so she decided to re create the dish using a young rabbit and some tender stinging nettle tips. I do not normally enjoy Indian food, but this was delicious. What made it even more delicious is that the main ingredients were free. The rabbit was a gift and the nettles were picked by me in a friend’s vegetable garden!

1 rabbit cut up in pieces

1 cup blanched nettle tips, seeds included if they are still green

1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying

1 table spoon of flour (I know this is the hard one!)

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

1 small chili

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

4 cardamom pods, smashed

1 teaspoon coriander seeds ground

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons garam masala

1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup of stock, I used home made quail stock

Heat the oil in a pot or pan big enough to hold all the rabbit pieces lying flat. Brown the rabbit well and remove from the pan. In the same pan, fry the onion until soft then add all the other ingredients except the nettles. Fry the spices until they release their aromas. Add the nettles, the rabbit and the stock, sprinkle the flour over the mix, stir until the rabbit is covered in sauce, cover the pan and cook on medium heat for about 1 hour (this depends on the age of the rabbit) until tender.

I served the dish with a cup of cooked basmati rice, tinted a lovely yellow by adding a teaspoonful of turmeric.

Mrs BYF has done well again and we washed it all down with some home made Elderberry Wine

Rabbit Pie

AE87D4B3-C0F6-4F5B-91FF-E11F6A1652E6Every time I shoot a rabbit or get some as a gift I make stock with the ribs, neck, tails, flanks and all the cut offs, keeping the prime cuts for roasting. Into the stock pot goes a few carrots, onions and celery. Somehow some leeks became too woody for normal use, so this time, I included those as well. Just add water and boil down to about half of the quantity you started off with. I don’t  add salt or pepper. Pour the stock off using a pasta strainer or colander and freeze the stock for soup or stews later. What is  left are  the meat and vegetables. Mrs BYF has been fretting about how to make the best use of these stock ‘leftovers’ . The chickens were never impressed with them and composting after tossing out the meat and bones seemed criminal, so she decided to spend the time and make a rabbit pie. This was delicious, well worth the time picking meat off the bones!

Rabbit Pie
Off cuts of about 4 rabbits
4 Large carrots, chopped
6 Small leeks including leaves, washed well and sliced thinly
2 Small onions chopped
3 Large cloves of garlic, chopped
6 Medium field mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 Tablespoons flour
3 Cups rabbit stock, more if needed
1/2 Cup sherry
Salt and Pepper
100 g Butter for frying
100 g Butter for the sauce
6 Tablespoons of olive oil
Livers, hearts and kidneys of the rabbits (optional)

Cook the stock and strain. Freeze the stock or keep in the fridge for a few days. Pick as much meat off the bones as possible, keep separate. Dice the cooked carrots. Compost the rest.

In a big enough pot to hold all the pie filling, pour the olive oil.  Fry he onion, garlic and leeks over low heat until soft and translucent. Add the carrots. Meanwhile fry the mushrooms in some of the butter until almost cooked, add to the vegetables. Stir a few times and cook for a few minutes until heated through. At this stage I fried the livers, hearts and kidneys in a bit of butter and added them to the mix. I suppose you could use chicken livers, but this is optional. Add all the fine rabbit meat you picked from the bones. In another pan, melt about 150 g butter, add the flour and salt and pepper. This will make a paste or roux , cook for a minute without burning. Add the stock a little at a time, stirring fast, until you have a thick gravy. Add the sherry, and pour the gravy into the pie mix.  Mix well and heat through.

I made one pie big enough for 3 and 4 small individual pies. With the leftover pie filling I intend to make small hand pies.

We had a lot of very tasty pie filling from ingredients we used to throw out or give to the chickens! Zero waste is still our goal!

Lepre al Limone di Domenico

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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.

ENJOY!!!!

 

RABBIT SHOW AT BREMIO, ITALY

 

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.