4 young rabbit hind quarters or 1 young rabbit, cut into serving pieces
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound fresh porcini or cremini mushrooms, wiped, stems trimmed, and quartered
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice (3/4 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch dice (1/3 cup)
1 medium rib celery, trimmed and diced (1/3 cup)
2 shallots, chopped
1 head garlic, loose papery outer skin removed and sliced in half horizontally
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
3 large sprigs fresh sage
1/2 TBSP whole juniper berries
1/2 TBSP whole black peppercorns
2 to 3 cups olive oil, for covering the rabbit
4 cups mixed salad greens, washed and dried
juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Season the rabbit liberally with salt and pepper. Put the rabbit, mushrooms, onion, carrot, celery, shallots, garlic, rosemary, sage, juniper berries, and peppercorns in a heavy pot just large enough to hold the rabbit in a single layer. Pour on enough olive oil to cover. Transfer to the oven and cook until the rabbit is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Begin testing after 1 hour. Remove the pot from the oven and let the rabbit cool to room temperature.
Spoon the mushrooms and vegetables over the rabbit and serve immediately.
Toss the mixed greens in a bowl with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the olive oil from the pot used to cook the rabbit. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste, and toss.
Notes: 2009 New Year's dish. Served with Centine 2006, a blend of 60% Sangiovese; 20% Cabernet Sauvignon; 20% Merlot (aged an additional year in the wine cabinet) -- a bright fruity taste with medium to full-bodied mouth-feel. Bottled by Banfi (Montalcino).
I'd never done oil-braising before and had a brief moment of trepidation after settling on the recipe. The big surprise, however, was that the rabbit needed to be further butchered. In the past, it had come already cut into pieces. Despite wishing I had a boning knife, it turned out alright in the end. In any case, it came out really well -- infused with flavor and succulent. First recipe tried from this cookbook, and it bodes well for future applications....
As suggested in the cookbook, the leftover oil is also great to use for frying potatoes.
Also, leftovers re-heated a couple days later were really delicious; especially flavorful were the roasted mushrooms (should put more in the next time).
The leftover roasted garlic (if it doesn't entirely disintegrate) is good mixed into a spread or used to doctor up a pasta sauce.
I've tried five new beers this year, and here's just some quick thoughts on them to keep track.
* Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier: From their brewmaster's collection. The hint of fruit in this is tasty, but not too sweet, perhaps even a little tart, even though the initial aroma after pouring makes it seem as if the berries will be over-pronounced. Drinkable and a nice companion with food.
*Hobgoblin Dark English Ale: Not a lot of aroma, but a pronounced nutty, roasted smell with a bitter chocolatey finish. On the carbonated side.
*Brooklyn Local 1: Using Belgian yeast, a cloudy lighter color. Sweet but with a tart bite on the back of the tongue (maybe almost like grapefruit) and herbal undertones.
*Brooklyn Local 2: #1 was a bit more to my taste, but this one was pretty decent too. Sweeter (which is part of what made it less appealing) with honey and caramel overtones. The citrus doesn't meld as well so the counterbalance is less well-paired than #1.
*Rogue Double Dead Guy Ale: Malty and sweet. Not as bitter as expected. Balanced but not deeply textured taste.
Merum Monastrell 2006. Jumilla. : Monastrell 85% Syrah 10% Tempranillo 5%, 90 points from Wine Advocate (2005). Offers up earth, forest floor, and black cherry aromas and flavors along with very good concentration, good purity, and decent acidity. The finish is layered and long. Benefits from half hour or so of aeration.
The Monastrell grape is red and very sweet. It produces wines with a deep colour and considerable alcoholic content. It is mainly found in Murcia (52%), Alicante, Albacete and Valencia.
89 points from Wine Spectator. A creamy texture carries orange, guava, almond and light vanilla flavors in this polished white, which has lively acidity and wears its weight with grace.
100% Verdejo, one of the best white varieties in Spain. It makes very aromatic, glyceric, soft wines with body. It is plentiful in Valladolid (69%), Segovia and Ávila. It is considered a main variety of Rueda DO.
Last night, Elizabeth Bear was over for dinner. We had Chicken with Tomato and Feta Sauce, which once again proved successful. I've yet to have anyone decide they didn't like that one. Even my father, who isn't fond of "skeezy cheeses that I can't describe."
Bear brought along a bottle of Cricklewood 2003 Winemaker's Reserve Pinot Noir. It's hard to go wrong with a wine from the Willamette Valley, and this one was apparently also reasonably priced (ranges around the web seem to be from $12-$16). It has a darker, fuller and more earthy taste to it than some other pinots I've had. I suspect it goes better with a meal than as a sipping wine on its own.
The Cricklewood varietals are produced by Montinore Vineyards from its estate vineyards in the Northern Willamette Valley of Oregon.
I surprised my local supplier with a question as to what wine might go well with tacos. We considered a few, looking for something to compliment the spice mix for the meat and the hot sauce generally added to the dish. Settled on the 2004 Hermanos Lurton Blanco. A Rueda from the Castilla y Leon region of Spain, a combination of the Viura and Verdejo varietals. A little sweet with a long, strong finish.
She brought two bottles to share:
1999 Forefathers Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley - From their website: "On the palate the wine is elegant, powerful, rich and seamless. The long rich mouth makes the wine drink beautifully now, and will improve over the next 10 years." (from their own website) As she said, this was perhaps a little futher gone than its ideal state, but it was still quite good.
2004 Vin d'Alsace One - a combination of Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris. From the label: "crisp and dry with good body, intensity and depth." I'm not sure whether I'd get this one again or not. It was a fun wine, but maybe a little too complicated, or trying too hard?
A very good find for the lovely price of around $10. From the Marlborough region of New Zealand. I'm not very accomplished at reviewing wines. I know what tastes good to me. This had a nice full citrus thing going and I thought it was very refreshing.