Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lapin aux Olives

One of the the things I do to relieve stress is cook. We had a friend who is currently living in Spain over, so I gave this receipt from Anthony a shot. I've been wanting to cook rabbit for a while, and wasn't really happy with most of the recipes I've found online. This one is much better. Compared to most of Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles recipes, this one is relatively straightforward.

Lapin aux Olives

from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook
(thanks Meg and Seb)

4 Rabbit Legs *
1 Small onion, coarsely chopped
1 Small carrot, coarsely chopped
1 Celery rib, coarsely chopped
4 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 Bay leaves
2 Sprigs of thyme, plus
1 Sprig of thyme, leaves only, finely chopped
1 Sprig of rosemary, plus
1 Sprig of rosemary, leaves, only finely chopped
1 Sprig of flat parsley, plus
1 Sprig of flat parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
1 Tbsp/14g whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 cups/340ml White wine (1/2 bottle)
Salt and pepper
1/4 Cup/56g Flour, for dredging, plus
1 Tbs/14g Flour, for sauce
2 Tbsp/28ml Olive oil
1 Tbsp/14g Butter
1 Tbsp/14g Tomato paste
1/4 Cup/56ml Red wine vinegar
2 Cups/450ml Chicken stock
1/4 lbs./112 g Picholine olives, pitted (or a mix of red and green unstuffed, pitted)

Large mixing bowl
Dutch oven or other heavy, large pot
Wooden spoon
Serving Platter

Serves 4

Prep the bunny
In the large mixing bowl, combine the rabbit legs, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaves, whole sprigs of thyme, rosemary, and parsley, the peppercorns, and the wine. Let marinate for 2 hours.

Cook the bunny
Drain the marinade and reserve the liquid and the vegetables separately. Pat the legs dry and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the legs in 1/4 Cup of the flour. Heat the olive oil over high heat in the Dutch oven and, once the oil is hot, add the butter.** Brown the legs on both sides until they are dark golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the legs from the pot and set aside.

Add the vegetables from the marinade to the pot and cook over high heat until they are browned and caramelized. Stir in the tomato paste and the remaining tablespoon/14g of flour and mix well with the wooden spoon. Cook for 1 minute, then stir in the vinegar and the reserved marinade liquid. Cook over the high heat until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the rabbit legs and reduce to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 1 hour, or until the meat is very tender. Remove the legs and set aside.

Finish and serve
Strain the cooking liquid and return it to the pot. Return the legs to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Stir in the olives and the chopped herbs, season with salt and pepper, and serve on the platter.

Tay's Notes
* or one whole rabbit, organs removed, chopped up. If you go the whole-bunny route, beware of bones.
** On the advice of my butcher I added some lardons of bacon, about 1/2 cup worth at this stage and rendered the fat after that. Thus the rabbit was seared in olive oil, butter, and bacon fat!
*** Including the marinading, this recipe takes about four hours, plan accordingly.

A note about sourcing rabbits in southern Ontario. The butcher told me that there is really only one supplier of rabbits to the grocery stores and butchers down here. There are no large rabbit farms, there is no money in it. However, farmers like to give their kids a few rabbits to raise as a way to teach them the basics of animal husbandry. People also raise them personally for meat, of course. So this rabbit processing company does a big round-up a few time a month when anyone can come by and sell their rabbits. Mostly, I'm told, these rabbits are actually being raised by Mennonites!


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