Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Mustard Rabbit

Rabbits were first introduced to New Zealand in the 1800s as a source of food, sport and fur. Interestingly, because they are so hardy and breed so quickly, they were deposited all over the Pacific on Islands as a source of food for hungry sailors. Sadly, like all things introduced to NZ, over the years they grew in size and numbers to become a serious pest. Now we spend a lot of tax-payer money poisoning rabbits to try and keep the numbers down, and seem to have lost sight of the fact that they are still food – really good food!

Rabbit has a similar texture to free range chicken and has a very delicate, delicious flavour. High in protein and B12, but low in cholesterol and sodium, rabbit is also really good for you, too. For some reason, perhaps  because it is widely viewed as a pest, rabbit truly has been one of the most underrated meats in recent years; but with some of the best restaurants now serving it, it is slowly coming back into fashion. One of the best things about rabbit meat is that it is highly unlikely anyone is ever going to tell you “no” if you want to shoot/snare/trap one – FREE MEAT!

Over the years we have taught many people to hunt, prepare and cook their own wild food. Lately we have been toying with the idea of starting a small-game hunt club for parents and kids who want to learn to shoot the likes of rabbits and hares. If you are interested, please send me an email mawera@thewildcook.co.nz
This week’s recipe is for rabbit, but it works as well with chicken.
Kia makona, Mawera x

Mustard Rabbit and Mushrooms
1 large rabbit (cut into serving sized pieces)
½ cup dijon mustard
1 Tblsp wholegrain mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tblsp butter
6 button, sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ cup good dry white wine (if it is not good enough to drink, it is also
not good enough to cook with)
1 Tblsp of Made by Mawera “Bay Seasoning” or make a bouquet garni with Bay Leaf, fresh Thyme and Sage.
1/2 cup crème fraîche
2 Tblsp finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Liberally coat rabbit pieces with Dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 2 tbsp. of the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Sear rabbit pieces, turning frequently, until rabbit is very crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter.
3. Reduce heat to medium and melt remaining 2 tbsp. butter in pan. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic.  Cook, stirring, until softened, 8–10 minutes.
4, Add wine to pan and scrape up any browned bits. Return rabbit pieces to the skillet, along with Bay Seasoning. Cover and cook until rabbit is tender, about 35 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and stir in crème fraîche, whole grain mustard and parsley. Serve with seasonal vegetables.

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