rabbit two ways: roasted saddle stuffed with shitake mushrooms and kidneys and wrapped in bacon, french rack with grainy mustard and honey glaze, pea and watercress puree, beet chips, warm anchovy dressing
yes! above was last nights dinner which actually turned out better than i expected. it was also my second time eating rabbit (babbo in nyc was the first) and my first time ever cooking one! and i have to say, i enjoyed my version way more than batali’s! this was a very exciting meal!
the most daunting task was butchering it. other than chickens, turkeys, and fish i’ve never ever had to dissect my own meal and i found this very nerve wracking. i searched online for a day or two, and found some very helpful videos specific to what i wanted to do, especially figuring out how to french the rack of such a small animal. mine didn’t turn out the best, but next time it’ll look much nicer and hopefully the most of the rib bones won’t be broken when i get it!
now, DON’T BE SCARED. yes, this is a rabbit, but its no different from eating a chicken, a pig, or anything you non vegetarians put in your mouth! i’m sure years ago i would have some major qualms, but i had no problem butchering or eating this thing.
1 Livers, Kidneys, Heart (these are good! keep them)
2 Hind Legs, good for braising, roasting, I plan to confit
3 Legs, best for stock or slow cooking
4 Saddle and Rack (otherwise known as Super Saddle) and my new knife! I had to show this off… it was an xmas present from my dear sister (as well as a cookbook by Fergus Henderson “The Whole Beast”) and I love it dearly! if she is reading this, i didn’t use it on the bones! just the soft fleshy parts.
5 Rib Rack, separated from the saddle, and a skewer (preferably metal) pushed through the spin and a sharp clever is used to cut straight down the spine to get the two racks.
6 French Rack, after the membrane has been cut away and the bones frenched as well as i could.
the butchering was actually much easier than i anticipated and pretty much everything worked out, except the french racks not looking their best. removing the legs was quite similar to chickens, but i found, even easier. just small cuts, find the joint, and one more cut.
i loved this dish. the rabbit was extremely tender, i didn’t even need a knife. the flavour was subtle but BETTER THAN CHICKEN. maybe because of how juicy it was. i loved the little rack, as the glaze was delicious and it was kinda cute, in a morbid way, eating this little french rack! also, i didn’t add any lemon to the puree so the anchovy dressing really went lovely with it. i would definitely cook rabbit again. some work to de-bone it, but totally worth it.
Mushroom & Kidney Stuffed Saddle:
4 medium shitake mushrooms, finely diced
2 rabbit kidneys, fat removed and finely diced
3 or 4 slices of bacon
1 long piece of kitchen string
simple. medium-high heat cook the mushrooms until browned and add kidneys. season with S&P and thyme, and clean bottom of pan with a touch of red wine or other cooking liquid.
let cool. season saddle, and put stuffing inside, rolling from one end until fully closed.
neatly lay out 3 strips of bacon, and lay saddle on the short side, and roll.
tie the saddle.
1 tbl grainy mustard
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp honey
Season rack, coat with mustard and rosemary, then top with honey just before cooking.
At a high heat, sear off the saddle on all sides until browned and same with the rack. Put saddle into a preheated oven at 375F for 15-20 minutes, and put rack in the oven about 5 minutes before the saddle is done so that the small rack can cook and be ready to serve by the time the saddle has rested.
Pea & Watercress Puree:
2 cups of sweet peas
1 cup of watercress
1 tbl of butter
4 tbl of cream
quick cook peas and watercress in butter. add stock and water until just covered and simmer for a few minutes.
move to blender and puree, then sieve out any chunks back into pot. add cream, taste and season, and keep warm on the stove.
3 anchovy filets, very finely cut
1 tbl of lemon juice
3 tbl of olive oil
1 tsp of fresh herbs
mix all ingredients. i like this dressing warm, so you can microwave or boil, but i just left the bowl on my stove which gets relatively hot, and this will allow the anchovy to melt and infuse in the dressing.
i also parboiled a potato, cut into large squares, and seared them off until golden. also, thinly sliced beetroot and lightly fried until crispy.