Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hercule Poirot, Survivalist

The Fleur 75 
Equal parts gin, champagne, & crème de violette 

Tonight I spent a good amount of time indulging some of my favorite Francophile fantasies. I set the stage with one of the most glorious cocktails ever invented, the Fleur 75, a champagne/gin concoction the exact color of Elisabeth Taylor’s eyes, followed by a peasant dish immortalized by Hercule Poirot (yes, I know he was Belgian, but his palate was distinctly French), Lapin a la Moutard, a luxurious, leisurely fricassee of rabbit and mustard. 

I came to this recipe, not out of a decadent, dilettantish dalliance, but by way of a primitive survivalist web site. You see, rabbit is one of the most efficient of protein sources. Should we come to a day when we must all produce our own food, rabbit will be one of the most sustainable food sources. However I did not acquire tonight’s supper by way of some primitive local foraging, but from a wonderful local middle eastern market that stocks rabbit, goat, & lamb. Rabbit can be enjoyed many ways, but I find it most appealing with a slow, savory preparation. As Poirot says, enjoy it with a spoon, no knife is required. 

(Rabbit Cooked with Dijon Mustard) 

  • ½ cup Dijon mustard 
  • 1 rabbit, about 3 1/2 pounds, cut in 6 or 7 pieces 
  • 2 strips bacon, diced 
  • 1 onion, peeled and minced 
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp dried thyme 
  • ½ tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste 
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter 
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • ¼ cup heavy cream 
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley 
  1. Rub the mustard all over the rabbit. Let stand for 3 hours. 
  2. About 15 minutes before rabbit is ready, saute the bacon in a large, deep skillet until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon. 
  3. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Toss rabbit with the flour seasoned with the thyme, rosemary, salt, & pepper. 
  5. Add the butter to the pan. Working in 2 batches, saute rabbit pieces until golden on both sides, about 8 minutes for each batch. Remove rabbit from pan and set aside. 
  6. Pour the wine into the pan. Over medium-high heat, simmer while scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken broth and bay leaf. 
  7. Add the rabbit. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat so that liquid barely simmers. Cover and cook until rabbit is tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, skimming top as necessary. 
  8. Remove rabbit from pan. Increase heat. Simmer sauce until thickened, about 20 minutes. 
  9. Stir in cream. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf. 
  10. Return rabbit to the pan. Stir in parsley. Serve with noodles.

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