Category Archives: Rabbit

Beef ‘n’ Barra

A fine name for a pub, though The Buff’n’Barra might be more appropriate here in the Top End. Better keep that from the ‘Hoff’, who’s apparently going to build a bar somewhere around here Casablanca style. Anyway, a classic leftover concoction here. We had an amazing sunset barbecue on Simon’s wee chunk of land here in Katherine, a 200acre nature playground. I took along a side of Barra kindly given by Mel, and we threw that on the hot plate over charcoal with no adornment. Most of it got left as the shoulder of pork was beautiful and even crackled successfully over hot coals. So tonight, on my tod, I made an Indonesian flavour noodle soup. I had some deeply amazing beef stock from some roast beef ribs (roasted 5 hrs) and a left over bit of ‘roo thigh bone. To this, some insane homemade paste from out local shop in Wanguri, weirdly, which must have chillies, shallots and balacan (fermented prawn brick) amongst other unknowns. I had some leftover fatty rib meat, the barra, a mushroom, some rice and mung bean noodles and some spinach and rocket mix which I just put in the end to wilt. Washed down with Vale/Dark as shown. Glorious.

Shona picked up a bag of beef bones at the supermarket on the tip off from an Italian guy who was prcuring offal of some kind, though I think he suggested these were for the dog. Little does he know the joyous lubricant that resides in dem bones- which is odd, given osso bucco, (later). Maybe $6 for the pile shown, and what a marrow harvest, wow. I used some on a pizza, which I think I just served plain. I do remember it was the finest pizza night ever. What to use on next……?

The bones I roasted and made a spiffing stock. Maybe next time I’ll do Fergus Henderson’s signature roast marrow bone salad. Oooh, some sourdough to smear that on would be divine…….

 

The dessert pizza reappeared, but this incarnation included some rather sour plums with a nice dark skin. I was really chuffed with how this turned out. The plums were delicious. It’s amazing how some fruits just explode into life after cooking, the skins seem to be the treasure box of flavour. I’m never that taken with blueberries until you cook the buggers. A decent sprinkle of vanilla sugar and some butter for, well, obvious reasons. Maybe I should try this with a

Shona found a recipe for ‘Tuscan rabbit’. I don’t have it to hand, but bloody hell, it was amazing. Ah, here it is. I’m usually a bit suspect of tomatoey concoctions, I often find them a bit too bloody tomatoey, allowing not much other flavour to express. But this was bloody amazing. Lovely sweetness from the onions, and the fennel was a subtle background too. Very nice. Shona made a huge amount of sauce so this has reappeared with some ‘luv a duck’ pork and duck fennel sausages. They are very fine meaty sausages, more suited to this cooking than a bbq. Definitely not a snag or banger.

 

Now Woolies has a few things over Coles, and these veal osso bucco are one of them. The last OB’s I did was beef, and it suggested to me why veal is preferable for the wet stove fry method. The beef ones quite dried up and contorted by the time they were edible. These veal beauties were cooked in 1.5 hrs or so, stayed moist and didn’t buckle up over themselves. Just slow cooked adding only white wine, and then some bonkers purple carrots to cook as shown. Should have used the excess marrow above for a risotto Milanese……

 

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Simon Says…….Disarticulate a Rabbit

Simon Hopkinson influenced, no, let’s say shaped my approach to cooking from his masterful columns in the Independent on Saturday in the nineties. Having picked up a rabbit from the marvelous Jones ‘Eat beef ya bastards’  butcher in Katherine, I felt inspired. I recalled a rabbit article from the Simon archives. Cross referencing to ‘Week in Week Out’ (2007), I find he has a bumper 5 recipes involving Peter R. Annoyingly, they all revolve around the acquisition of two flopsies. On with one.

The first I made was rabbit brawn. First it was necessary to joint the rabbit to have the rear legs and saddle separate. Simon has a lengthy explanation of how to do it which I shan’t repeat, I’m sure a youtube search will be productive. So, everything into the pot (including heart, kidney, liver if present) bar the ample rear legs and the saddle which were for part deux.

  • a large carrot
  • an onion
  • 2 cloves
  • 300g pork back fat
  • pigs trotter
  • large sprig of dried thyme
  • half a head of garlic
  • slug of white wine (Portuguese here)
  • stick of celery

Covered with water and cooked until the rabbit was able to be pulled off the bone. The rabbit I removed and carried on cooking until the trotter was also soft and the liquid reduce to a quarter. In the mean time I removed every scrap of meat off the rabbit, including offaly bits, and set aside. Then the same with the trotter, removing as much gelatinous material and soft skin as possible. Since this had been used for suturing practice I had to remove a few prolene sutures too. Not something to repeat in a restaurant.

These meat and pork fat I chopped to oblivion using my wonderful cheapo cleaver. Simon says ‘roughly’ but his photo looked otherwise. I then incorporated a handful of chopped parsley, a third of that amount of tarragon (grown in Berry springs, remarkably), some grated nutmeg, ground white pepper and a dessert spoon of Dijon mustard.

Into the somewhat tropically underused Le Creuset terrine dish, and the reduced stock poured over. I await with desire to eat this with my toasted rye flour and gherkin juice bread. Slobber…..

Part Deux

OK, next up is a fabulously simple French classic, Lapin a la Dijonaise, and the method I employed was similar to a wet braise as per osso bucco. Having jointed the rabbit as above, the saddle and rear legs remained.

  • 2 large shallots (not the wee Asian jobbies), finely chopped and sweated in butter, then put aside
  • gently fry the meat on both sides until beginning to brown
  • add a splash of white wine, and simmer gently until this reduces to stickiness,
  • cover with a lid on the pan (my lovely Danish Copco deep sided cast iron enamel)
  • add a splash whenever the juices ‘stickify’
  • when the meat has cooked (the meat contracts up on the bone, apprx 1hr), add the shallots and another splash of wine.
  • remove the meat and add 200ml of creme fraiche or plain cream.
  • Don’t fuck around with low fat shit here- 35% fat is a minimum
  • stir and reduce a little
  • add a dessert spoon of smooth dijon mustard, stir in and serve. A little black pepper, though white maybe more in keeping with the aesthetics of the affair. Yard long beans too.

Oh my life, what bliss. I made some mashed potatoes just with milk as the sauce is obviously super rich. Some beans on the side and a pinot noir from Tasmania so supremely good I’m tempted to keep this a secret. But since my readership is similar to the hectarage of the vineyard I will divulge- Two Bud Spur, 2009. Divine.