Rabbit and Pork Spiedini ready for the fire when it is hot enough
Rabbit and Pork Spiedini ready for the fire when it is hot enough
Every 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!
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!
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 )
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.
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.
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.
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.