Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mister rabbits last meal

Ambition and vision seemed to come into alignment, and as usual I probably went a little overboard on a dish for two, and maybe put in a few or more hours into it, just as well I like spending time in the kitchen I guess. I didn’t have a clear idea when I first saw Mr Rabbit inviting me to take him home from Moore Wilson as we madly dashed around the store on a rather freezing cold morning, rushing home to get a panel heater installed. Not so much a recipe as such, but more a list of what was what in roughly the order it happened.

Rabbit Broken down, loin removed, belly removed, legs removed and deboned.

Bones and scraps into a pan (pressure cooker) with baking soda, carrots, onion, caraway, juniper, peppercorns, thyme and parsley, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of dry suffolk cider, cooked on high pressure for 45 minutes, let to release pressure, strained without pressing the bones and vegetables.

Leg meat was cured in salt (2%), juniper and thyme overnight. Sous vide confit with duck fat for 4 hours at 70ºC. Roughly pulled apart and formed into a torchon, wrapped firmly in layers of cling film. Refrigerated overnight.

The leg “torchon” is sliced in half, and one half in half again, the intact half rolled in flour, egg yolk, panko crumbs, yolk and then finally crumbs again. Left in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Carrots peeled, sliced and cooked in enough water until tender, passed through a mouli, then a fine sieve, returned to pan and cooked with some butter until enough water has evaporated and a thick purée is left, seasoned.

Sauce, red onion, thyme, butter, cooked until the onion is tender and 1 cup of dry suffolk cider is added, reduced to 1 quarter, strained, 1 cup of rabbit stock added and reduced to 1 third of a cup, seasoned and enriched with a little butter to thicken and add shine.

Radish is sliced thinly then placed in an ice bath. Brussels sprouts broken down to individual leaves, blanched in boiling salted water then transferred to ice bath.

Leg quarters are seared on one side in butter and left to heat through. The crumbed half is fried in butter, spooning over the foaming butter to help create an even golden brown coating, drained on paper towels, and sliced in half on a bias just before serving.

Loin, pan seared and spoon with butter until medium.

Parsley and thyme picked over for garnish.

Plated with what one could call a skid mark of carrot purée, loin sliced in half, then the uncrumbed leg, crumbed leg, radish and sprout leaves arranges, and dressed with the rich sauce, and a scattering of herbs.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Venison and Beet Salad

It’s always a pleasure when you’re presented with a little wild fare, such as the beautiful venison filet the other half (now wife) came home with after a laborious day up in Masterton working on the farm. Equally as pleasurable is when a plan comes straight to mind what to do with such a tasty piece of meat. I set about making room in the fridge so the fillet could have a little room to age and dry a little. It was sliced in equal halves and one went straight in the fridge for a few days, and the other ended up in a bag with 1% salt (by weight), brown sugar, thyme, and juniper, to cure for 24 hours or so before being patted dry and joining its uncovered other half to dry and age a little, they ended up in the fridge for about six days.

The fillets were taken out of the fridge about half an hour before cooking, and a pan put on a high heat, with what one could describe as a f*#k tonne of butter, because butter makes the world better. When the butter had finally calmed down, stopped foaming and spitting, the uncured portion went in the pan, seared golden brown, rolled around in it’s butter bath, then the cured portion went in about half way before the other piece was cooked and bathed in buttery goodness, in total they got about 6 and 4 minutes in the pan respectively, which resulted a perfectly rare temp.

As the meat was put aside to rest, a handful of diced shallots and thyme were liberally tossed into the pan to soften and perfume the butter before a splash of red wine and stock, we’re talking about equal parts butter, stock, wine, so quite good for you and your arteries, and especially your taste buds. It was left to reduce to a thick rich syrup and finally sieved.

A simple salad of roasted beets, toasted hazelnuts, ewe cheese and rocket tossed in a little olive oil was the perfect partner for the oh so rich gamey meat, with the two distinct textures and flavours of the cured (left) and uncured (right), and not forgetting the ever so rich pan glaze that brought everything together. Now I just need to get my hands on more of the venison goodness!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wings, version... I've lost count

The latest foray into the realms of the chicken wing was a wee while ago, and also not my own creation but rather Alton Browns rather delicious buffalo wings, which although had lovely crisp skin and lashings of butter-hot sauce-garlic awesomeness, they lacked what I truly desire when it comes to a hot wing, crunch. I really liked the method of steaming the wings, and refrigerating before baking, the steaming encourages the fat in the skin to render so when placed in the hot oven it runs out and fries/crisps the skin on the way, and the refrigeration tightens the skin, in my other methods I use the resting/refrigeration to help the starch in the coating to hydrate. I figured I could Frankenstein a few methods together and end up with the benefits of the steamed wing combined with that crunch I was missing, and maybe embellish with coating in an extravagant butter-hot sauce combo.

Chicken wings
1 part semolina flour
1 part potato starch
salt, chilli powder & coriander powder to taste

Get a pot of water on to the boil, and pile the chicken wings in steamer, set the steamer in the pot and let it bathe in the vapour for 15 minutes, it’s quite nice to add a few aromatics to the water, such as garlic and the like.

While the wings are steaming mix together the dry ingredients, then carefully remove the chicken and toss in the flour mixture. Arrange the wings on a rack on a sheet pan and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 220°C, place a sheet of baking paper below the rack and cook for 15-20 minutes, flip and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

To really gild the lily, and I highly recommend it, toss the hot crunchy wings in a mixture of melted butter, garlic and hot sauce, probably not that good for you but damn tasty.