A popular saying in the Basque Country is "El conejo por San Juan y la perdzz por Navidad," or "Rabbit on Saint John's day (June 24) and partridge on Christmas." Although we do follow these traditions, we actually eat rabbit all year round. Rabbits arrived on the Iberian Peninsula from Asia twelve centuries ago, and ever since we have enjoyed them prepared in numerous ways. Rabbit has only about 5 percent fat, which makes it a healthful meat that many compare to chicken. Try rabbit cooked as we do; it is delicious. We serve it with Basque Fries and steamed baby carrots.
If you can't buy rabbit locally, you can order it from D'Artagnan, a New Jersey company that ships specialty meats all over the country. Call 800-DARTAGNAN or 973-344-0565.
About 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
One 2-1/2 to 3-pound rabbit, cut into small pieces
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
4 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup red Rioja wine
1 cup water
8 whole baby carrots, with leaves still attached,
if they're fresh
Chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Spread the flour in a shallow dish. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper, and dredge it in the flour. Shake off the excess flour.
2. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the rabbit, and cook it for 5 to 6 minutes, turning, until it is lightly browned. Lift the meat from the pan, and set it aside.
3. Add the carrots, onions, and garlic, and cook them over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Reduce the heat, and cook the vegetables over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rabbit, wine, and water, and cover the pan. Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the rabbit is cooked through.
4. Steam the baby carrots for 8 to 10 minutes, until they're just tender.
5. Meanwhile, using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the rabbit from the pan, and set it aside. purée the remaining ingredients in the pan in a food mill, food processor, or blender. Return the sauce to the pan, add the rabbit, and heat gently. Serve the rabbit and sauce immediately, garnished with parsley and the steamed carrots.
The Basque Table
Passionate Home Cooking from one
of Europe's Great Regional Cuisines
By Teresa Barrenechea with Mary Goodbody
Harvard Common Press
Hardback, Price: $22.95
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created March 1999
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