Saturday, November 20, 2010

Leek and rabbit

I have a friend who is currently concerned about slaughterhouse practices, which has almost made her a vegetarian.

But consider the life of the wild rabbit. A short life, filled with sex and hopping, ended quickly by a shot. Most rabbits, I like to believe, are actually on the job when shot: it's the only time they're still enough. Wild rabbits are the closest we have to an endlessly renewable source of meat. We should eat more of them.

I suppose it's not as amazing as pairing strawberries with black olives, but I'm willing to bet there's a similar kind of match-made-in-heaven-ness about rabbit flesh and leeks. I've just had a bowl, and then another, of rabbit and leek stew, and it was extraordinarily good. I'll probably never quite achieve it again, but while I remember, here's what I did.

Flour 350g diced wild rabbit and brown it in olive oil. Turn down the heat and add:

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium leek, trimmed and sliced into 1cm slices
2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Let these soften, then add:

1 medium carrot, sliced
1 unassuming parsnip, sliced
about this much celeriac (a little less than the carrot)
a few small potatoes
a thumbsize lump of ginger, half sliced, half grated (I got bored with slicing)

Add enough chicken stock to nearly cover everything. Toss in a bayleaf or two, a splash each of fish sauce (nam pla) and white wine vinegar. Stir and simmer, covered, on the lowest gas for 90 minutes.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's all. Not even salt. (The fish sauce and stock take care of that.) The prevailing taste in the sauce is that of the braised leeks, and I guess that, by happy serendipity, the other ingredients rounded it out.

Incidentally, in researching this, I find that there's a well-known and -regarded rabbit rescue centre in Leek, Staffs. That can't be mere coincidence.

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