Tuesday, October 26, 2010
What's Up Doc?
He spent time with the Navajo and was inspired by their simple honest cooking. One recipe totally got my attention. Off to the market we went.
Our first stop was a high-end grocery store that sold organic everything. Good, but pricy. Everything was pricy. I picked up the last crop of Black Mission Figs along with gorgeous chanterelle and shitake mushrooms. I browsed the meat counter while Michael picked through potatoes.
"You look like you might need some help, sir.", a young-ish meat man quietly blurted from behind the meat case. "Anything I can help you with?", he asked. With all the confidence I could muster, I matter-of-factly said, "Why yes, I'd like a whole cut up rabbit with livers, kidney, and heart."
The blank expressionless look on his face assured me they did not have rabbit. I had to change the plan and rework everything in my head because they didn't have a stupid rabbit. I scooped up a ridiculously priced air-chilled whole free-range organic chicken and decided to make matzoh ball soup. I knew I had ground matzoh meal back at the house leftover from a Passover thing we celebrated a couple of years ago. Back on course.
As we drove home I thought, if any place in town would have rabbit, it would be Critichfields Meats. We stopped in and gazed at all the lovely things lining the shelves. I snuck over to one of my favorite meat cases in town. Bingo! Rabbit.
The more I thought about Jamie Olivers interpretation of a Navajo rabbit stew recipe, the more unsure I got about it. Rustic is one thing, but Navajo rustic? With rabbit? I decided to use his Rabbit Stew interpretive inspiration as my own inspiration to make something a bit more familiar to us. With a nod to coq a vin, I decided on rabbit stewed in red wine.
I have never cooked rabbit. I once ate a rabbit that my brother killed with a shotgun. It was so full of buckshot, it felt like chewing on a meaty miniature plachinko game, each bite loaded with tiny ball bearings. Chew. Spit. Chew Spit. Delightful.
I had a long day off yesterday and thought rabbit stew would be fun to make. With an overcast sky and dampness in the air, it was a great day for any stew. Most recipes made it clear that chicken and rabbit were interchangeable. I decided I would cook it just like chicken.