Leo and I picked up a nice fresh 3.5lb Rabbit yesterday at St. Lawrence Market, so my project for today was to use every last scrap of it that I could. I’m happy to report that the only bits that went in the green bin were the brain (just not ready to deal with that one), the lungs (I cooked them for Koda and he didn’t want to eat them… if it’s not good enough for a dog, it’s not good enough for me – totally justifiable green bin toss!), and of course the bones, but only after they gave up every last bit of their essence to a very tasty consommé.
So, here is what I did with every bit of one whole fresh rabbit, which was purchased with it’s head & all organs intact. Here is the list of dishes that I ended up with, then below I’ll go through the method:
1. Rabbit cheek & Tongue amuse bouche
2. Rabbit & Black Mission Fig Pate
3. Tarragon Crepes stuffed with Braised Rabbit, Caramelized Fennel, Pomegranate & topped with Creme Fraiche
4. Rabbit Consomme
5. Olive & Spelt Ravioli stuffed with Braised Rabbit & Veggies.
1. Separate & Braise
The first thing I did was rinse the rabbit and then clean it up in preparation for braising. I removed and set aside the organs & inner fat, and then removed and discarded any membrane film that I could from the inside of the rabbit’s ribs. I removed the head as close to the base of the skull as possible, then cut the cheeks off each side of the skull and removed the tongue. These items I set aside. I then broke down the rabbit as follows: spine & ribs went directly into the soup pot for consommé that I would make later on, legs and tenderloin were cut into pieces & any little bone fragments from rib cuts etc were discarded. For braising I used the following:
- 1 bottle semi-dry white wine
- handful fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and peper
- olive oil
Preheat oven to 375F. Heat a large heavy pan with a lid that can be transferred to the oven, over medium heat. Add olive oil and all ingredients. Saute over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the rabbit is beginning to brown (turn rabbit pieces at least once.) Add the bottle of wine a little at a time to deglaze the pan, and then bring to a boil. Once the wine is gently boiling, cover the pan and transfer it to the oven. Bake for 25mins. When done, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
2. Pate Meanwhile, refer to this earlier post for how to prepare Rabbit & Black Mission Fig Pate.
In a food processor blend the following:
- 1 cup unbleached spelt flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 2 tbspns melted butter
- 2 tbspn coarsely chopped tarragon leaves
Blend until smooth then transfer to a large measuring cup or jug with a spout, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
When the braised rabbit is done, remove from the oven and let cool. Once the braised rabbit has cooled, separate it into a bowl and using a slotted spoon remove the fennel and onions to another bowl. Pour off 1.5cups of the braising liquid into a small sauce pan and heat over med-high heat to reduce (approx. 30mins). Pour the remaining braising liquid into a slow cooker – this is the base for the consommé that comes next. Back to the rabbit – remove most of the meat from the bones, and put the bones into the slow cooker. With your hands shred the boneless braised rabbit meat. Set aside. Return the fennel & onion mixture to a skillet with a tbsp of butter and sauté over very low heat for about 45mins. This creates the caramelized fennel. After about 45 mins, add a tsp or so of very good quality balsamic vinegar, sauté for another 5 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside. When the braising liquid in the small saucepan has reduced to about 1/2 to 2/3 of its original volume, whisk in 1 tsp. arrowroot starch, bring to a boil while whisking and then remove from heat. Add thickened sauce to shredded rabbit. Place the pans containing the rabbit and the caramelized fennel into the oven to keep warm.
Heat a crepe skillet over medium heat. When hot, brush with butter then pour on about 1/4 cup batter, moving skillet around so that it is evenly coated with batter. Flip when browned.
For each crepe, add shredded rabbit meat, a small amount of caramelized fennel, finely sliced spring onion, and a sprinkling of fresh pomegranate seeds. Roll up and top with a spoon of creme fraiche and more pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately while hot.
4. For the Consomme, Add to a slow cooker:
- the rabbit rib bones that were set aside earlier
- the leftover rabbit bones from the braised rabbit
- the leftover braising liquid, as described above
- 2 coursely chopped carrots
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 4-5 stalks celery, sliced
- a handful of fresh tarragon leaves (stems removed)
- a generous grating of fresh black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Set the slow cooker on High and cook for 4 hours. Use a colander over a large pot to strain everything out of the consommé. Discard the bay leaves.
5. Ravioli & filling
Put the strained vegetables and bones in another bowl & carefully remove and discard all the bones. Transfer the vegetables and rabbit meat to a food processor, pulse until everything is chopped finely (do not puree).
Meanwhile, prepare homemade pasta as per this previous post. This time I used ‘Type 00′ Olive Flour. Cut the pasta sheets with a ravioli cutter, then fill each ravioli with a small spoonful of the filling above. Boil a large bowl of salted water, add a couple table spoons of olive oil, then drop the all the ravioli in and cook for 1 minute. Strain and lay the ravioli out on oiled baking sheets to cool. From here the ravioli can be cooked further for eating immediately or it can be refrigerated or frozen.
I have not yet eaten my ravioli, so no photo… I’m looking forward to dinner tomorrow!