Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rabbit - Braised Leg with Morels, and Rabbit Cream Sauce, Garlic Olive Oil Poached Loin on Asparagus with Asparagus Foam, Tempura Battered Rack of Rabbit with Carrot Timable and Peas

Sorry about the picture, I messed around with this until my food went cold, and well I was hungry. So what we have here is basically a rabbit trio dish, the leg, the loin, and the rack, which leaves us with the front legs and some offal that shall be saved for another day. If ever you have illusions of boning a rack of rabbit, be warned its time consuming, tedious, and a general pain in the ass.

Braised Leg with Morels and Rabbit Cream Sauce
  • Rabbit leg(s)
  • Rabbit stock
  • Garlic
  • Bay leaf
  • Thyme
  • Fennel seed
  • Peppercorn
  • Cream
I think thats it for ingredients. This is pretty easy to accomplish. Firstly get a pan nice and hot with some oil, and proceed to brown the legs. When they are nicely brown put them in a pot, and deglaze the pan with wine, water, whatever you have around to deglaze with, and scrap all the nice little brown bits off the bottom. Dump this into the pot with the rabbit legs. To this add stock halfway up the legs, and the rest of the ingredients excluding the cream. Allow to slowly simmer with the lid on, either on top of the stove, or put into an oven at a low temperature (275-375) until the meat is tender and is pulling away from the bone. If you chose to braise in the oven, be sure to heat up your braising liquid to a boil before it goes into the oven. Once the legs are tender, take off the heat, and let cool in the liquid. Allowing the legs to cool in the braising liquid will give the muscles a chance to reabsorb lost moisture (in this case tasty tasty braising liquid). After everything has cooled remove the legs, and strain the braising liquid into another pot (this is the base for the sauce). Heat the liquid back up, and reduce. Add cream, and reduce to a sauce like consistency. Just before you want to serve it throw a nub of butter in to give the sauce a nice sheen, and velvety texture.

Garlic Olive Oil Poached Loin on Asparagus with Asparagus Foam
  • Rabbit loin
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus (blanched)
  • Lecithin 
Alright, the first thing everyone is going to ask is what and where do I find lecithin, so well clear this up right now. Lecithin is a soy or egg based protein thats used to emulsify water based molecules. This means that if you add the correct amount of lecithin into a water based concoction, and create bubbles within said concoction, they will stabilize instead of popping. This is one way of creating a culinary foam. Lecithin can be found in health food stores, but I found mine at Bulk Barn and paid much less for it.

First thing is first, we want to asparagus tips, and everything else goes to the foam. Take the discarded parts of the asparagus, steam them, then blanch in cold water to preserve their green color. Put these into a blender with some water and blitz up. Allow to cool. Strain. Add one tablespoon of lecithin pure cup of mixture. I am not sure about the exact proportions of this, because resources are scarce, although there are a few videos: Wasabi Foam, Beetroot and Juniper Air, and Lemon Air unfortunately all these videos are either not clear on proportions or use Ferran Adria's Texturas which may contain different concentrations. As before I successfully did this with one tablespoon pure cup. It is important that all the ingredients are cold. One the mixture is strained, you can add the lecithin and incorporate air using an immersion blender. After the bubbles have formed you must let it sit for a few minutes to separate the liquid and foam. Mine stayed stabilized for about an hour at room temperature before there was a noticeably different density.  Unfortunately, I was so pissed off trying to get a picture of the dish, I forgot to get a good zoom of the foam >=/

Thinly slice some garlic, and put this in a pot filled with enough olive oil to immerse the loins. This depends on your pot. Heat the oil to about 170 F give or take a few degrees, and drop the loins in until they reach a safe eating temperature. Take a few tablespoons of the garlic oil, and put into a pan with a knob of butter and quickly saute the asparagus tips until heated through. Serve the Loin on top of the spears, and gently spoon the foam on the loin.

Tempura Battered Rack of Rabbit with Carrot Timbale and Peas

This was inspired by Heston Blumenthals In Search of Perfection where Heston tries to find the perfect fish batter. Well I didnt neccesarly use a CO2 can, and beer, and go absolutely nuts with the batter. However, if you watch the episode it will give you a great tempura batter, and show you proper technique! If however your lazy you can either make your own tempura batter using rice flour, pastry flour, water, and club soda or beer. But, if your lazy you probably shouldn't be attempting this.


Timbale

  • 2 carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • Butter
  • Water
  • Cream
Find nice large carrots, cut one in half lengthwise, and using a peeler or mandoline slice four thin slices lengthwise. Quickly blanch these, and cool. Take four aluminum cups or ramekins (actually I dont know what they are called but they seem to be in every professional kitchen,) and butter the insides. wrap the carrot strips around the inside.

Put the sugar butter, and water in a pan and warm up. Place the remainder of the carrot which is nicely diced up, and cook until soft. The less water you put in, the more flavorful glaze you will end up with. Blitz all this with your trusty blender and add cream and smooth, but not liquefied. Add your eggs and mix. Carefully spoon the mixture into each container (inside the carrot slice). Take a pan, or vessel large enough to accommodate the ramekins fill with water to a height where the ramekins will be half immersed (a bain marie for those not in the know,) and boil. When boiled add the ramekins and put into a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until set. It will end up a custard like consistency.

Heat your deep fryer to 350ish, or if you dont have one as I do not. Take a big pot or deep pan and add Canola, or Peanut oil (high smoke point). The Japanese say that when the batter hits the bottom and raises right away its hot enough. Once again check the Blumenthal show for proper technique. Basically, you batter the rack, dip it in, and flip extra batter on the exposed side of the already battered rack to create layers, and textures. Once its a light golden brown, it should be done. The thing I like about this method is it keeps the rack moist, and does not overcook like searing, or roasting would. The peas can quickly be heated up with butter and served along side.

I think thats it, but I will edit, if its not.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Peppercorn Encrusted Rack of Lamb with Black Sambuca Glaze, Braised Fennel, and a Warm Morel, Purple Sugar Snap Peas and Mache Salad on Californian Wild Rice

Alright, I have been waiting to make this one for years, and either lamb has been out of season or I couldnt figure out how I wanted to balance it out. I think ive very much pulled off what I set out for.

The glaze was probably my biggest concern. Once the sambucca reduced down, would it be too sweet to function as part of the dish. To combat this I reduced about 1/4 cup of sugar down with 3/4 of a cup of black sambucca with a few cloves of garlic, and a good splash of beef stock. Reduce this down until it starts bubbling on itself, which should be a good indication that once it cools down, it should have a nice sticky consistency that the peppercorns will adhere to. This was then cooled and brushed onto the lamb, then coated in cracked black peppercorns, seared in a hot cast iron to a nice rare.

The fennel is easy enough to accomplish, quarter and clean the fennel while bringing some stock, touch of wine, thyme, and bay to a boil. Introduce the fennel, and then cook in a 450 degree oven until soft (about 30 minutes). It is important not to overcook the fennel, it should be fork tender yet still retain shape. There are almost no better joys in life then braised fennel.

The rice was actually a random find at the grocery store, yet I dare say ive never had a better rice... brand to come soon.

The mache, morel, and purple sugar snaps was purely a spur of the moment conception at the grocery store. Ive never had mache before, mostly because I have never seen it around these parts. The morels were dried morels (fresh would be better) and they were re hydrated in chardonnay, and then towel dried. The excess moisture by not drying will cause them to cook longer, and end up steaming more then sautéing. This was all cooked very simply, a quick saute together, some wine to deglaze, and then finished off with the wilted mache rosettes.

I made a pan sauce with the trimmings of lamb, some shallots, wine and stock, and also served a bit of the sambucca glaze. All in all I am very impressed with how this turned out, although the peppercorns may require a slight balance with bread crumbs or better application as I could see how it may be a touch too much for most tastes.

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