Thursday, 24 September 2015

Rabbit and Olives

It has been a few months since I last wrote for my column. Life has been pretty mad with trying to finish off my Masters, and running a very busy business. Our business has recently been made a finalist in the Sustainable Business Awards and we are really excited about that!

For those of you new to my column, my name is Mawera Karetai and I am a wild food cook. I love food, I love cooking and I love eating – all the essential loves for a food writer! Wild food is more than just a passion for our family; it is a lifestyle choice. All the meat we eat comes from the bush, and we grow or forage as much as we can, to compliment the meat. In my column I have written about rabbit, hare, goat, peacock, pheasant, duck, venison and wild pork. I try and include the odd dessert recipe, too, making use of locally-grown seasonal fruits. 

So welcome, reader, it is my pleasure to write for you.

Tonight for dinner at our place, rabbit is on the menu. Rabbit is so delicious , delicate and beautifully tender when treated with respect. If your rabbit is a little older, it is good to brine it. Brine is a mixture of water, salt and seasoning that tenderises, moisturises and infuses flavours into the meat. For a whole rabbit you need to brine for a day – put it in the brine solution in the morning and then by evening it will be ready to cook. I generally work on at least an hour of brining time per 500gms, but longer is better. My usual method is one tablespoon of salt for each cup of water, and which ever herbs and spices I am planning on cooking with. Mix together, then submerge rabbit into the solution and leave for the prescribed time. Make sure you dry the meat really well before frying, otherwise hot oil will spit everywhere.

Kia makona, Mawera Karetai x

Baked Rabbit with Green Olives
·           8 rabbit pieces
·           6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
·           1 large red onion, very finely sliced
·           1 1/4 cups sliced pitted brine-cured green olives
·           3 large garlic cloves, chopped
·           3 fresh thyme sprigs
·           1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
·           1/4 cup (or more) water
·           Fresh rosemary sprigs

Brine rabbit pieces, then pat dry; season with salt and pepper. Heat good oil in heavy large pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the rabbit to the pan and brown, turning often, around 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the rabbit to a bowl. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion with a little more oil; sauté for 5 minutes. Mix in garlic, and thyme; cook 5 minutes. Mix in vinegar and 1/4 cup water. Add the seared rabbit. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Spoon some of liquid over the rabbit. Cover and simmer until rabbit is tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with rosemary and serve warm with seasonal veges.

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