A bit of an in joke for les Montmartoise. There is a cabaret called Le Lapin Agile (the agile rabbit). We nicknamed this dish the rabbit not so agile.
We are still experiencing winter weather. The sky has been valiantly trying to be blue and rays of pale wintery sunshine have been forcing their way between the clouds. But it is still coat and scarf and hat and gloves weather.
This morning we felt like having a casserole for dinner. The choices were beef and carrots or rabbit in red wine. We called our neighbours (and good friends) and asked if they felt like joining us for an early dinner. They jumped at the opportunity and given the options they selected rabbit.
So rabbit it was.
A few hours later the appartment smelt divine and our mouths were watering.
Such a simple dish, but so delicious. Exactly what we all needed on a cold winters day.
I did not make an entree, nor did I serve a cheese course. We simply gorged ourselves on rabbit casserole with green veg and then finished with a peach tart. Simple, honest, hearty faire. A bottle of a very unusual rose was drunk with the meal. It is called Fat Bastard, and is a collaberation between a French winemaker and a British wine industry rebel. Produced in France by the Fat Bastard Wine Company. We all agreed it was a perfect winter rose. Rich, round and so flavourful. One to watch out for in future.
Lapin "not so" Agile
1 rabbit cut into pieces (the majority of the pieces deboned)
250g lardons or streaky bacon cut into small strips
1 small onion diced very finely
1 clove garlic minced
good splash of red wine (I used half a bottle of a haut medoc)
500g carrots peeled and diced (or sliced, depending on your mood)
500g small potatoes (I used pommes de terre grenaille)
500mls heavy stock (ie a robust flavour like veal, beef etc - not chicken or vegetable)
Place onion and garlic in base of heavy casserole (I use a vintage le creuset)
Arrange rabbit pieces in one layer on top of aromatics. Top with lardons or bacon.
Pour in as much red wine as you like - up to half a bottle.
Let sit for a few minutes so the rabbit can slowly drink in the wine and relax. Have a glass yourself. After all you should only cook with good quality wines that you would like to drink.
Add as much water and stock as you need to cover the rabbit completely.
Cover and place in oven for an hour or so at 165C.
After hour or so, remove from oven and turn meat. Make sure if it has stuck a little on the bottom that you scrape up all the goodies so they melt into the sauce.
Add rest of stock and water to cover vegetables completely.
Place back in oven for at least 2 hours. The meat should be falling apart and looking like shreds of rabbit.
The longer you leave it the better. Check occasionally that there is still plenty of liquid in dish.
4 (or so) zucchini sliced into rondelles
10 (or so) asparagus spears cut into 2cm lengths
roughly crushed hazelnuts
1 clove garlic minced
Cook veg and garlic till soft but not mushy.
Add nuts and olive oil and mix till a sort of lumpy puree.
Serve piping hot as side dish.
Can also be pureed and served on crostini or toasted bread or as a sauce for pasta.
Tarte au Peche
1 sheet of puff pastry (pate brisee)
1 huge tin of peach halves, drained
1 tin coconut milk
3 tablespoons custard powder (yes, I know - cheating)
2 tablespoons sugar
Make custard using coconut milk, powder and sugar. Cool slightly.
Place pastry in tart or pie plate and mould into edges. Trim if necessary.
Arrange peaches on base of pastry lined dish.
Pour custard mix over peaches till amost at top of pastry edge.
Bake at 180C till custard is set at edges and pastry is golden.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of brown sugar.
Return to oven and cook further 5 mins at 210C till sugar caramelises.
Allow to cool to room temperature and then serve with fresh cream and sprinkled with raw (unsalted) pistachios.