Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rabbit with Mustard Sauce (Page 408)

RECIPE # 1193

  • Date: Monday, August 2, 2010 -- 7pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our New House
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A-

I can hardly believe it -- only 100 recipes left to go! This is a major milestone for me. After making 1193 recipes from The Book a mere 100 left feels like nothing. Granted the 100 I have left are some of the most complicated, with the hardest to find ingredients, and the most unappetizing-sounding end products. But never mind all that. Only 100 recipes left to go!

This recipe has been a mystery to me from the beginning. Why, I have long wondered, is this recipe in the Poultry section? Is rabbit secretly poultry? Surely, rabbit isn't included in any definition of poultry that I have ever heard... People often say that rabbit tastes like chicken, but that seems like questionable justification for throwing this in with the poultry. The mysteries only continued. Step one of this recipe was to cut my rabbit into 8 serving pieces. I have pieced many chickens in my day, and with a chicken it is easy to pick out the 8 pieces: 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts. But rabbits aren't built like chickens, and I found the 8 pieces to be non-obvious. Internet research led me to the conclusion that unlike chickens rabbits don't have a a canonical number of serving pieces, or a canonical technique for butchering them into those pieces. If you are aiming for 8 the division is what one would guess: 2 front legs, 2 hind legs, and 4 pieces from the mid-section.

Eventually I had a pile of rabbit pieces and was ready to proceed. At that point the recipe became super easy. I browned the rabbit pieces in oil, then removed them from the pan. I cooked shallots in butter then added white wine and reduced. I put the rabbit back in the skillet along with some chicken stock and simmered until the rabbit was tender. I removed the rabbit pieces and made a typical pan sauce, adding Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, cornstarch, butter, and parsley. I seasoned with salt and pepper and served.

This dish was pretty tasty. It had been a long time since I had eaten rabbit and I had forgotten how much I like it. Similar in taste to chicken? Sure. But more flavorful. The sauce was definitely mustard-intensive, but it suited the rabbit meat well and the combination of wine and stock gave it some depth behind the mustard. My special gentleman was a huge fan of this dish, declaring it one of his recent favorites.

The recipe in The Book is very similar to this one.

It's hard to believe I only have 100 recipes left to go. Scrolling through the Project Index I feel both nostalgic and excited about being almost done. Part of me wishes I could just bust out those last 100 recipes as quickly as possible. I feel ready to be done. But of course I will miss this project. I have been at this for almost five years now. I have been cooking my way through The Book since before I met my husband! Crazy! 1193 recipes down, 100 left to go!


Anonymous said...

Only 100 to go!
I am a late-comer, but I have to say I am impressed with this ginormous undertaking.

Have you thought about how to celebrate the end?


vero said...

I've done some research. Turns out rabbit is not poultry. However it is often put in the poultry section for two reasons.
1st) It is cooked in a similar way.
2nd) It was traditionally raised with poultry.

Congrats on the new cat!

Mike Hill said...

I always thought the whole "tastes like chicken" or "tastes like beef" was intensely uncreative. I never found that things like rabbit or turtle fit into either category. Why not use more descriptive terms?

And yeah. Having it grouped with poultry is beyond archaic. Who has a rabbit hutch anymore near their henhouse? Well, I will, but that's because I lead a horribly affected life.

Teena said...

Caroline: Thanks! I have been thinking a bit about how to celebrate the end but I haven't made any real plans yet!

Vero: Ah, I hadn't thought of the fact that rabbits can be raised with poultry. I guess that makes some sense...

Mike: To be fair, rabbit does taste a bit like chicken. The texture is very different, and the flavor is of course different too, but it definitely brings chicken to mind.