M's Cooking Diary

Musing about food, wine and cooking.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Big dinner coming. Part IV. The 6th service

For the 6th service, I’ll make fig stuffed loins of rabbit.

We eat rabbit, at least twice a month, I usually do a version of a braised rabbit with whatever garnish happens to catch my eyes in the fridge.

I start by cutting up the rabbit in pieces and frying them in olive oil by small batches until they’re golden.
Then, I make a sofrito with onion, celery, garlic, tomatoes, sometime carrots or leeks. This is the most important part. Transforming the raw vegetable and extracting their tastes in water soluble caramelized sugar. I deglaze the bottom of the pan with water, wine or rabbit stock is I have some and if I don’t, I don’t use chicken stock! Why would I want my rabbit to taste like chicken?
I add the meat, and a bouquet garnis, cover the pan with aluminum paper, put the lid on top and in the oven it goes.

At 275F-300F for an hour or so. It can be eaten as it come off the pan or sometime, if I feel like a fancier presentation, I’ll keep the meat warm and reduce and strain the cooking juice, beating in butter at the last moment.

But back to the loin, the other day I wanted to test my knife skill so I deboned a rabbit loin. It was a lot easier that I thought it would be. Then I had to come up with something to stuff it with. I looked around the kitchen and I saw dried figs. OK then, figs it will be. Using my knife I shredded 2 or 3 figs, added some black olive, pepper, one sprig of rosemary and Moutarde Violette de Brive to hold everything together. The mustard, I bought in a small wine shop in Avignon where I also bought 2 bottles of Domaine de l”Oratoire St-Martin 2000. The shopkeeper told me that he almost cried when he tasted it. We’ll see. It's almost time to open one of these bottles and will let you know if he was overly sensitive.

I put the stuffing on the loin and rolled and tied it with a butcher string. I braised it with a bouquet and half onion. The meat was even better that when I braise a whole rabbit. I usually prefer the forelegs that just melt on the bone and the loin’s meat is usually a bit dry, but with the “Râble de lapin au figues”, the same meat was moist and tasty.

With it, I’ll serve make quenelles of the mashed blue potatoes with hazelnuts.

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