Is something organic if it is shipped across the country? What about the fuel that is used and how that affects our environment, not to mention the freshness of the food and a myriad of other factors. Over the last few years i have been reading everything i can get my hands on to help me answer these and other questions so sit back, relax and explore where my quest has taken me thus far.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Rabbit Cook-Off

We placed an order with one of the local farmer's market stands for a rabbit. This past Saturday we picked it up. After hours of deliberation on how to prepare said bunny we agreed to disagree, split him in half and decided on a little friendly competition. Mr. CM opted for the more french style of slow cooking method while I decided to brine mine first before cooking it stove-top the next day. It was a great deal of fun and we learned that rabbit is incredibly lean, extremely high in protein and lends itself to a variety of cooking styles.

Mr. CM sectioned and cleaned his rabbit, cut up carrots, some delicious market fresh potatoes, shallots, garlic white wine, salt, pepper and butter, real unsalted butter. Everything was placed into the slow cooker and we let it go slow and low for about 5 hours. The house smelled tantalizing and the end result was a delicious stew.

The Stew......stewing

I brined mine yesterday and let it soak overnight. I was aiming for a sweet yet complex flavor for the rabbit and I was also hoping to get a delicious crispy skin with a succulent moist inside. I opted to a maple syrup brine:

I found this on a website, the measurements listed below are very loose but it was the flavor I wanted.

This brine can be used on any kind of poultry and pork. It gives a sweet, maple flavor to meats.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
* 1 quarts water
* 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 1/4 cup maple syrup
* 1/8 cup sea salt
* 1 whole clove garlic, peeled, sliced thin
* 3 large sprigs of thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil, dissolving sugar and maple syrup. Remove from heat and allow brine to cool completely before using.

I poured this over the meat, sealed the container and placed it in the fridge overnight.

Today I decided to go with a side of Arborio rice (rissoto rice) with fresh shitake mushrooms and a little bit of white wine, to off-set the sweetness. The rice ended up being stickier than I really wanted but taste-wise it was spot on.

Rabbit cooking Stove-top

After cooking the bunny stove-top for about 10 minutes, I painted some maple syrup onto it and popped it in the oven to create a nice glaze and crispy up the skin. Perhaps I should have popped it under the broiler because it did not get crispy but nonetheless the flavor was incredible and it was very moist. The internal temp for rabbit is supposed to be about 160, but I did not cook it to that temp, the smaller pieces would have dried out, the large piece was about 140 and I shut off the stove at that point, if we need to cook the large piece a little longer on left-over night we will, but at least it did not end up being tough like shoe leather.

After a few bites Mr. CM decided that I had won this round, but he will be back! It was really fun and we got to have some delicious rabbit two ways this weekend.

Hope everyone has a "hoppy" week.....sorry, I had to.


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