Friday, March 6, 2009

Rabbit Stew

We followed the recipe from the Jamie at Home cookbook, the recipe is Tender-as-you-like Rabbit Stew with the Best Dumplings Ever. I do not remember having rabbit ever before in my life. I have a open mind with food but I admit I had a chicken breast on stand-by just in case. This was amazing! Rabbit is really, really nice!

It ended up cooking a little longer than intended due to unforseen issues unrelated to dinner, so the dumplings were a little over-done. They were still good, but I wouldn't call them the best ever. Not sure if that was completely due to the over-cooking or not. They would be worth giving another chance.

Recipe, with my adjustments in purple.


For the dumplings:
3 cups self-rising flour (I just added a tablespoon of baking powder to unbleached, organic all purpose flour)
14 tablespoons butter
A bunch of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 a nutmeg

For the rabbits:
2 rabbits, preferably free-range or organic, each jointed and cut into 10 pieces (I only had one)
Olive oil
A knob of butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 slices of bacon, finely sliced (4 slices thick-cut)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
9 ounces mushrooms (field, shitake, or oyster), cleaned and torn (I didn't really measure/weigh. I used a mix of dried morel and shitake -about 1/2 cup dry total - reconstituted in boiling water, to cover plus 1.5 - 2 cups fresh sliced button mushrooms.*reserve mushroom liquid!!*)
A large handful of baby onions, peeled (used 4 shallots, quartered)
2 twelve-ounce cans dark beer (Mackenson's or John Smith's work well, if you can find them) (used 1 large bottle of Hobgoblin)
1 1/2 pints chicken stock


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. To make your dumplings, rub together your flour, butter and tarragon with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then, using a fork, mix in enough milk to give you an unsticky dough. Bring it together until it's quite stiff, then flour your hands and knead it into a dough.

2. Roll the dough into a big sausage shape and cut it into 18 equal-sized pieces. Roll these into little balls in your hands, grate over the nutmeg and place on a tray in the fridge.

3. Get your rabbit pieces and coat each of them with flour, shaking off any excess. Heat a deep oven-proof pot, about 12 inches in diameter, with a little olive oil and a couple tablespoons of butter, add the rabbit pieces in batches and cook for about 5 minutes until golden on all sides.

4. After the final batch, return the pieces to the pot, and add a good pinch of salt and pepper and the bacon. Carry on cooking for a couple of minutes until the bacon is crispy, keeping the rabbit moving around the pan at the same time. Add the rosemary sprigs, mushrooms and onions and continue frying for another 10 minutes, by which time the meat will be nicely colored and the veg will be softened.

5. Mix in a tablespoon of flour, pour in your beer and chicken stock and mushroom liquid, cover and simmer for half an hour. Then put your dumplings on top of the stew with about 1/2 inch between them. They will act as a kind of lid, allowing the stew to retain moisture and not to boil dry. When perfectly cooked they will crisp up on the top and stay bun-like and soft on the bottom. Drizzle them with olive oil and put the pot into the preheated oven for 45 minutes.


That's it, that's all. It was, of course, even better the next day. Cooking with beer is really, really good.


HorseOfCourse said...

Hi Ruckusbutt (I love your new name by the way!) and THANKS for the recepie!
I am a bit worried (as you) about the rabbit part, don't know if I can get it even? but I suppose you can change it for chicken.
It sounds real good!
How's the weather?

RuckusButt said...

Hey HorseOfCourse! Honestly, rabbit is really very good. I thought it would be gamey but it's not. If you can find it I would encourage you to try it! You're right though, chicken would work well too.

The weather has been very mild the last two days so all the snow is melting and everything looks dirty and messy. The fields outside the city still have ice over most of them and now lots of water on top. I don't think it will last long though. Spring is finally in sight!!

Scheduling didn't work out with the Fjords this weekend either *sigh*. I am hoping this is not a bad sign... but it was partly my fault because I was so busy with work this week I didn't try to contact the owner until Friday night. Guess we'll see.