14 July 2011

Snap pea and rabbit risotto

My freezer still has a lot of rabbits in it, and I took out two the other day.  After they thawed I rubbed them with salt and put them back in the icebox, where they've been resting for a few days.  I'm slowly figuring out ways to prepare rabbit that keep the meat tender and tasting like rabbit. 

For the risotto last night, I cut the loins on a diagonal, very thin.  In my enameled, cast iron frying pan I added a pretty big pour of olive oil and turned the gas on.  Over high heat I fried the rabbit, adding only pepper.  The thin slices curled up and browned quickly, so I turned off the heat.  The meat was still very tender.

With our cold, rainy spring, my snap peas flourished, and now in the heat of July I'm harvesting the last of them, the tall vines disheveled and rampant.  Chard runs wild and parsley flavors everything.  At the end of the twenty-fives minutes or so of stirring the risotto I steamed the peas for just a moment, and added them to the creamy, plump rice.  The rabbit bits were saved for the top of the dish; I usually mix the meat into the body of the risotto, but I figured I'd let everyone do that as they saw fit.  Some, like my son, just ate it plain from the top, avoiding the chard.

Today I came home during lunch, turned on the oven, and quickly browned a few meaty legs in the dutch oven.  A scant cup of rabbit stock was next and then I put the lid on and put the pot in the oven.  I  changed into shorts and headed to my community garden plot and did some weeding and picked a few young zucchini.   When I got back home I showered and was soon back at work with clean clothes.   I left the meat to cook in the slowly cooling oven that I turned off as I left the house.

When I got home after work I pulled the rabbit meat from the bones it was barely hanging on to, and put it into a bowl.  I heated up the bit of stock in the pot and added a little flour to thicken it, and added a little more stock to make even more gravy.  With this evening's beautiful weather we ate outside.  I served the rabbit over rice with sauteed zucchini on the side, and a big Caesar salad from the garden.

I still have a few legs left; tomorrow it'll be something else.