18 April 2009

Sweet Little Bunny

Eating rabbit can be problematic for people. To many, it's an adorable woodland creature deified in Disney movies and Looney Toons cartoons, and very often kept as a (copiously poop producing) pet. To others, it's a rodent, and as such probably carries disease and shouldn't be touched, let alone eaten.

My problem with rabbit... is that it's insanely hard to bone. Or is that de-bone? (And you would've thought boning is the least difficult thing for us...) Granted, it was my first time, so it was messy, bloody, and a bit frustrating. But I eventually got my half-rabbit into nice, boneless chunks, leaving the legs intact, because really, without a visual identifier to know that your dinner is rabbit, you might think it was veal or turkey.

Which brings us to the choice of cooking style. As our first bunny, figuring out what the hell to do with it was half the battle. Roasting or braising it seemed so missionary... so vanilla. With the weather having turned from the "Paris in the Springtime" of musical fame to nearly bone-chilling wind and rain, a blanquette seemed in order. No, that's not a pun. A blanquette is a stew in a creamy white sauce, generally made with veal, and excellent for warming up when something nasty blows in from the North Atlantic.

Not actually being big on blanquette - for something that looks so rich, it's often very bland - we opted for a little sweetness, in the form of vanilla. (Just when we were trying to avoid "vanilla...") It may sound odd, but after having a Tahitian-inspired shark steak in vanilla sauce recently, it seemed like a brilliant idea.

And boy, was it. After stewing with onions and sand carrots on top of the stove and then in the oven in cast iron, the rabbit meat and legs were tender and moist... The vanilla blanquette sauce (made with butter, milk, and egg yolk) was poured in the pot and mixed in about 10 minutes before serving. Regretfully, the sauce curdled a tiny bit during the few minutes of broiling (to brown the legs), but it didn't affect the finger-lickin'-goodness of the taste.

Going with the sweet theme, we had cardoon 'n prune salad on the side. Sliced cardoon blanched in saltwater and lemon juice was mixed with an orange vinaigrette, basil, and slivers of prune. Served chilled and topped with a bit of orange zest. The whole looks-like-celery-but-tastes-like-artichoke trick of the cardoon went hand-in-lucky-severed-paw with the mindfuck of vanilla flavored rabbit.

It was like a Miracle Fruit party, without the Miracle Fruit.


  1. HEY then I have your blog !!!!!

  2. i need to subscribe to this blog.

  3. that Anonymous is me, Grace M.

  4. Yum, sounds supergood.
    I'd like to try that recepie, but Rabbit in sweden are not avaliable @ the butcher or too expensive when they have it..

  5. Perhaps I should bring some next time I head to Sweden - no customs controls from France, right? (Still getting used to this whole concept...)

  6. hmm, dunno if they will let you in with a dead rabbit under your arm, there is still customs :(
    but some poirade is guaranteed free to self-import :)