Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Drunken Pickled Bunnies

It’s definitely hunker-down-and-grab-a-bowl-of-soup weather out there. The temperatures have been puttering around -10C with an absurd humidity of up to 90% which doesn’t make for much fun. It’s dumping another pile of snow outside. My skis are ready to go.

We spent last weekend helping my dear, dashingly handsome, darling husband celebrate his big 4-0. Most of the weekend was spent hunting (surprise!) Along with getting some small game, we saw this handsome fella:

Hawk Owl
We have a friend who is Kevin’s b-day twin and so we had a duo-b-day potluck dinner. Here’s some pics of the spread:

Roasted Grouse with crispy skin

Seared Grouse Breasts
Pumpkin Birthday Pie
Drunken Pickled Bunny Soup

That's a picture of Loulou and Lyra giving me their best sad puppy dog eyes because I segregated them from the kitchen and they had to watch us eat from the other side of the doggy gate.  There was grouse and rabbit and pumpkin pies all over the place and I was being realistic about the obedience levels of my pups in the face of such temptation.

Don’t feel so sad for them. They got some grouse for their dinner.
We also found out that Lyra really like pumpkin pie :P

Here’s the recipe for the German Rabbit stew (Hasenpfeffer), now known in this house as Drunken, Pickled Bunnies.

Basic Drunken Pickled Bunnies

1-2 rabbits disjointed into 4-6 pieces each

1 cup of dry red wine

1 cup of cider or red wine vinegar (yes a whole cup)

1 tablespoon of pickling spices

1 Bay Leaf

½ onion chopped fine

1) Brine the rabbit overnight.
2) Mix the rabbit in big ziplock bag with the rest of the ingredients. Seal bag, mush the ingredients all around so they are well mixed. Place bag in a glass or ceramic bowl.

3) Throw the bowl into the back of the fridge for a few days (I had in for 4 days). Occasionally, turn the bag over, mush about the ingredients to ensure the rabbit is evening marinated.

 4) Throw it all into a crockpot and let it cook on low for 8 hours.
5) Meat should be falling off the bone. Remove meat from liquid and let cool for a bit.  Then shred the meat off the bone and return to the cooking liquid.

That’s the basics of Drunken Pickled Bunny stew.

Yes, you can dredge the rabbit in flour and brown it and get jiggy with some caramelization before throwing it into the crockpot. I was too lazy. I don’t think it lacked too much without the browning.

There’s a bunch of different Hasenpfeffer recipes online that call for a bunch of other ingredients like brandy, bacon, currant jelly and fresh herbs. You can go as fancy as you want. I don’t know if I could even find currant jelly around here. I could probably find kumquat jelly but probably not currant jelly. It's one of those strange  food supplies issues about Inuvik. I found salted duck eggs but I couldn't find turnips last week.  
I did add some shredded cabbage and caramelized onions (leftover from a previous meal) into the cooking liquid while I was waiting for the meat to get cool enough to pull off the bone. I finished it with a large handful of finely chopped parsley.

It has a different flavour than your usual rabbit stew. When I was brining the rabbits, one was definitely goaty. It smelled like it had just finished off a marathon when it ran straight into Kevin's .177. 

The marinade certainly performed it's culinary alchemy on the gamey meat. It wasn’t as acidic as I thought it would be with all that vinegar. The meat was very rich and had that thick, succulent mouth-feel of a confit. (yum...drool..confit).The cabbage helped lighten and stretch the meat. The parsley was a great bright, fresh addition. Never underestimate the power of parsley!

There’re so many possibilities with this dish. I ended up using up the last bowlful of it in a spicy noodle soup for dinner last night. I could also see the meat doing well in pulled meat sandwich or in a fajita or topping a nice mushroom risotto.  If I wasn’t goddamn lazy I’d even consider making rabbit ravioli. 

Happy eating!

No comments:

Post a Comment