Saturday, 3 December 2011

French Rabbit Stew: a lifestyle post - eventually

Here's a very bad photo of the design (transposed onto the block) that caused so much (deliberately controversial) argument amongst you style gurus a couple of months ago - you know, the 17th century pear-tree motif which you all pretended to reckon was typically Arts and Crafts.

Ok, so I haven't started carving it yet, but if you saw it in the flesh and realised how bloody huge it is, you would know that I have gone to tremendous effort so far, just to get it into the workshop. It weighs 5.2 cwt (that's 583 lbs for you Americans) and is 75.5 inches wide. I'm glad I am not installing it. Dolly the Collie can just be seen in the right hand corner.

I've picked the wrong time to begin my old age - if there ever is a right time. I got a text message from my mobile provider telling me that they are going to raise my fixed tariff by 4. something percent, which - despite the fact that this will be peanuts by almost anyone's standards - was enough to send me into such a state of impotent anger that I stormed out of the pub on thursday, as if it were the bar staff's fault. It's just another few pence being squeezed out of the nation by a bunch of unscrupulous shysters - a small part of a large, concerted and daily financial attack which will not let up until I am too old to work to pay for their failing businesses. It's a good thing that I am in the fortunate position to be able to charge considerably more than the £6.50 per hour that some people are locked into.

Anyway, enough of this - I don't like the way this side-track is going. I have just got back in from shopping in town, and town is heaving with thousands of people spending money they have not got - or at least might not have for too much longer. Well, some of them anyway. I saw two Bentleys, one Aston Martin, a Ferrari, and more big Mercs than I could count. It's still out there.

I went into our butcher and game-dealer and bought a large, skinned rabbit which I got him to quarter for me. Cost - £3.21. It will feed us for two days, and if I ever become completely destitute, I have a gun, several hundred cartridges and access to land where bunnies roam free and cheekily close to where that photo above was taken. I need not even leave the workshop to take a pot at them. One every two days would keep us going for ever at the rate they breed. The only trouble is that Dolly is absolutely terrified of gunshots - even if they are a mile away. God knows how she would react if I let one off right over her head.

Here's the recipe:

Fry up the quartered rabbit until it turns colour with a dusting of plain flour, some shallots and seasoning.
Put the bits into a lidded casserole dish with some stock and a dash of wine to cover, along with some coarsely chopped vegetables which must include carrot.

Here's the magic ingredient:

Add a couple of small squares of good, dark chocolate to the mix before slowly cooking for a couple of hours. Traditionally served with chunks of coarse, white bread.


  1. OMG! Rabbit and chocolate Tom. I do not believe it.

  2. Yum. We get our rabbit and kangaroo from the pet food shop. I've asked the owner: "Those rabbit carcasses ... can I buy them to eat?" He shakes his head and says "Yep."
    Try it. It's like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time.

    I'm sticking with my idea that wild food is the most humane way to buy and eat meat. Critters run around happy, no corralling, de-horning, castrating or separating from babies, just one day "bang!" Mmm, sounds like fishing.

    Ps. No pain in that image of your new work either. Lovely stuff.

  3. I knew I could depend on you, Sarah.

  4. It's not an Easter recipe, Weaver - you wouldn't know there was any chocolate at all, if you were not told.

  5. I had a nasty experience in malta once when I ordered half a rabbit at a posh restaurant
    when it was placed infront of me..its kidney (stillattached to the ureter) fell out

  6. I sort of want to like this. Especially because of the chocolate. But I am not so easily bought these days. MrEM used to like cooking rabbit at our French ruin. It was OK. Then he tried horse, pretending is was beef. We all fell for it and enjoyed the casserole. But now the horse butcher has gone from our local (French) village. When I was a food and drink PR we frequently boasted about our eating experiences. Horse was my most extreme. You don't want to know about the others. Especially that of the French vineyard owner who had travelled further east. Now what were you saying?

  7. The ureter was the best bit, John. (so I am told) It is, however, important to cut out the gonads of male rabbits before cooking, because they taint the taste of the whole dish.

    My father (and about 1 million other Londoners) used to eat horse meat from street kebab vendors before the war, Elegance. Don't be so bloody fussy. Cats were called 'roof-rabbits' DURING the war.

  8. An ex-boyfriend of my daughter's used to keep ferrets.... but we used prunes instead of choc.

    Roof-rabbits; reminds me of Wall-fish.

  9. I've never eaten ferret (or wall fish), Cro. What's it like?

  10. My mother and her siblings cried when their mother served up the pet rabbits for supper in WWII. And as for cats, Mr EM and I ate some very tiny and suspected cat "spare ribs" on a train out of Bangkok many years ago. Actually delicious. Even if cooked on a butane ring next to the lavatory on the no-man's land between carriages. We didn't suffer unlike when we've dined in the UK at many lauded restaurants.

  11. 'No man's land between cartridges?' How very WW1. I try not to eat carnivores myself...