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COTM - HOPKINSON: MEAT - LAMB, PORK, RABBIT, STEAK and VEAL

Here's the thread to post about the meat chapters, including rabbit!

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  1. Old Report: Roast Best End of Lamb with Eggplant and Basil Cream Sauce

    Last night I made Roast Best End of Lamb with Eggplant and Basil Cream Sauce. The recipe calls for "best end" or rack of lamb, and I used the latter, not knowing what the former is or if it is the same thing. I cut the recipe in half. The basil cream sauce was lovely and surprisingly light, but flavorful. I used some purchased demi glace instead of the meat glaze, and just added some mayonnaise and a little garlic and lemon juice instead of making aioli to add to it. The eggplant is quartered, salted and left to drain for an hour, then wrapped up in tin foil with rosemary sprigs, lemon wedges (after juice is squeezed on top), garlic cloves, and sprinkled with olive oil and pepper. The lamb is oiled and seasoned, seared on the stove top until golden, then roasted for 20-25 minutes (basting, which I forgot to do) at 425 - added to the oven after the eggplant has been in for 15 minutes. Then let to rest for 10 -15 minutes. I thought that was a bit long and kept testing with my meat thermometer - pulled out after about 20 minutes, but next time I'd cook it for a shorter time.

    I served it with a jerusalem artichoke gratin from Marcella - the first time I've had jerusalem artichokes - and the leftover beet salad. Photos aren't great - the sauce was greener than it appears.

    Another winner from this book.

     
     
     
    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      So, and this is sooooooo off-topic (but just this once) - how was the jerusalem artichoke gratin? I've had them once a million years ago and can't remember if I liked them or not.

      1. re: oakjoan

        It was wonderful - you can see it in the last photo. Don't know why, but haven't made it again - but I will! I think they have a slightly nutty, but starchy, flavor/texture.

    2. Red Kidney Beans Baked with Chorizo, Chilli, Garlic and Olive Oil, p16, Second Helpings of Roast Chicken

      I made this tonight and thought it was pretty good comfort food. I made it practically as written and it took quite a long time for something very simple! Not much actual preparation time though, and I was pleased because I got to catch up on my favourite TV programme of the moment (Damages).

      I used dried kidney beans, which I soaked overnight and then simmered for an hour and a half. Hopkinson says 1-1.5 hours - I found they ook the full hour and a half. Next time I'd probably use tinned beans, which would make the recipe much faster. While the beans were cooking I sauteed two onions and four cloves of garlic in olive oil. The recipe calls for 3 tbsp but I cut it down to one. Then I added the chorizo - I used semi-dried Portuguese chorizo piccante from the local deli - and fried it gently until the oil started running. Then I added 200ml of chicken stock (I used concentrate) and 50ml of dry sherry (I used fino). The recipe then says to add "enough of the drained cooking water (from the beans) to achieve a sloppy, soupy mixture. I wasn't quite sure how much to add, and I think I used too much (more on that later). Then I stirred in 2tbsp of chopped mint (from the garden) and put the whole thing in an earthenware dish in the oven. You're also supposed to add more olive oil at this point, but I skipped this stage. The recipe didn't specify oven temperature, so I guessed at 175 Celsius.

      Hopkinson said it would take about an hour, "or until the liquid has evaporated or absorbed itself into the beans". I found it took longer than an hour, although that may have been because I added too much of the bean cooking liquor.

      This was good, warming fare for a very cold Spring night (it may snow tomorrow, for goodness sake). The chorizo added richness as well as heaps of flavour, while the mint cut through the oiliness of the sausage a bit. I think this would also be good with other beans, such as chickpeas or butter beans.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greedygirl

        Just had some of the leftovers for lunch, stuffed into a warm flour tortilla, with a dollup of Greek yoghurt. Yummy.

      2. Poulet Saute au Vinaigre, p. 32

        The biggest winner of last evening - husband said it was fabulous, and I was impressed with the flavors, particularly since there really are only a few ingredients.

        First - this takes longer than it looks - I'd allot 1.5 hours - doesn't require your attention the whole time by any means, but lots of adding, stirring, checking back etc. I had my not so good butcher at the market around the corner cut the chicken up for me, and I ended up using only 6 of the 8 pieces, since that is what fit in my LC dutch oven, and I didn't feel like browning a second batch since it was just two of us. I let butter and oil get to the just nut brown point - I was a little nervous about it burning, but it was just fine. The chicken browned v. nicely - I would turn pieces occasionally until I was happy with the color. The rest of it is pretty straight forward - I used 8 largish plum tomatoes, and did peel (after blanching) and seed them. I used a good chicken stock made at a local grocery store.

        The dish calls for plain boiled potatoes, which I didn't have and hadn't planned on serving a starch. But, the sauce was looking and smelling so good, I decided at the last minute to boil up some water and cook some lovely fresh pasta I'd bought earlier in the week. I'd taken the chicken out of the pot and whisked in the butter as instructed, added the pasta and tossed, put the pasta in the serving bowl, leaving lots of sauce behind, put the chicken in the bowl, then covered with the remaining sauce, and chopped parsley.

        The dish had a pleasant sweetness to it, is quite rich, and really could just be served with a plain salad. A keeper.

         
         
        5 Replies
        1. re: MMRuth

          That's on my "to do" list as well. Thanks for the report, and the photos are fab.

          1. re: MMRuth

            Poulet au Vinaigre is at the top of my dinner party recipe list. I must have made it 20 or 30 times over the years. I always serve it with a crusty bread for dipping. It's my husband's very favorite dish. Can't wait to try out Hopkinson's recipe!

            Last night I made the title of the book dish and it was amazingly good. I was skeptical about it due to years of Zuni chicken and others.

            Will post on the poultry and game thread.

            1. re: oakjoan

              I just realized I posted this on the wrong thread - sorry - I guess I'll post a pointer on the right thread.

              I'd never heard of this dish before! Glad your roast chicken was better than Gio's.

            2. re: MMRuth

              It sounds good. It didn't taste vinegary? I'm sure I'd like it but I have to consider the tastes of my picky 10-year-old.

              1. re: NYCkaren

                It didn't taste too vinegary too me, but my husband said that when he tasted it, he wondered if people who didn't like vinegar as much as he would enjoy it. To me, it tasted more sweet than anything else. It certainly smells vinegary when you make it.

            3. Here's a link to the pheasant recipe I'm going to make tomorrow night:

              http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi...

              Braised Pheasant with Cabbage, Garlic and Fat Bacon

              I'm assuming a "dressed" pheasant is just one that has been cleaned etc. and ready to cook?

              3 Replies
              1. re: MMRuth

                "Dressed" - yep - dead, plucked, gutted, ready to cook.

                Braised is a my standard way with pheasant. Lovely moist flesh - far better than a straight roast. I use a similar recipe. Then, while the pheasant is "resting" before carving, I boil some of the stock to reduce it to sauce consistency and add some cream.

                1. re: Harters

                  Yup, braised is the way to go. Roast pheasant is lovely, but you always run the risk of it being a bit dry.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    I basically use St Delia's recipe (from "Complete Cookery Course") and mess about with it.

              2. Braised Rabbit (erm, chicken thighs) with white wine, shallots, rosemary and cream (p. 169).

                I cheated and used chicken thighs. Aside from that made as written and it was absolutely fantastic. Not a normal spring recipe, but luckily it was a somewhat gray and cold (relatively speaking) day here. Killer good.

                20 Replies
                1. re: LulusMom

                  Then I will try this with chicken. I've cooked many a rabbit, and I always regret it - too many bones and too expensive. Thanks for taking this leap! Did you use bone-in chicken thighs?

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Wild rabbit is super-cheap here when in season. Farmed rabbit is always expensive though. I do love a nice bunny though.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      I'll confess that I did not use bone in thighs, which would have been even more wonderful, I'm sure. I almost always sub thighs (either bone in or boneless) for rabbit recipes and it works out wonderfully. The meat really isn't very different if you stick with dark meat chicken.

                      My only warning is that this is a rich, rich meal. He suggests serving it over buttered noodles, but I served it in a shallow bowl with some roasted brussel sprouts on the side and it was plenty without the starch.

                    2. re: LulusMom

                      And as MMRuth was typying her reply, I was thinking that this could finally get me to try cooking rabbit--which I've never done. You make it sound like a must try. I just added the page marker to my book. Thanks.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        It really was wonderful, and so easy (especially with the chicken). Just do keep in mind that it might be one to save for when the weather gets colder again.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          Couldn’t wait for cooler weather. I figured it was still cool enough and if I didn’t do it now I’d probably put it off forever. I know you all said farmed bunny was expensive, but I was still taken aback. The smallest Citarella had was 3 pounds. And at $10.00/pound this was an expensive—but really tasty—experiment.

                          I think I made the recipe as written. I mean, really. How can one tell? How much do two small bunnies weigh? The same as my one big one? (Was mine big, for that matter? No idea.) Six small shallots? I used two huge ones. Half the amount of butter seemed like plenty. And I had a cup of heavy cream in the freezer so used that instead of 1½ cups. That’s close enough to “as written” as far as I’m concerned. Ooops. Just realized I forgot to add the lemon juice. Oh, well.

                          I just loved his comment that the recipe “should be nurtured as you are pottering about the kitchen doing other chores.” So I decided, since he said to serve it with buttered noodles, that my “other chores” would be to make homemade egg noodles. It really is a perfect recipe for when you have time, aren’t in a rush, and feel like putzing around in the kitchen. So much fun. And it smelled soooo good.

                          Loved it, but not sold on bunny. And it’s not only the expense. LulusMom described it as similar to dark meat chicken. I thought it was more like tough white meat, although maybe that was my rabbit, not rabbit in general. Anyway, I actually think I’d prefer this with chicken thighs. And yes, it’s rich. But I do think the sauce cries out for noodles. I didn’t butter them first, figured the sauce was enough. I could easily have made a meal of the noodles and sauce.

                           
                           
                          1. re: JoanN

                            Oh does that look wonderful! So, how many pounds of bone-in chicken thighs do you think you would use for this? I wonder if I could throw in some cut up breasts on the bone as well, since I do prefer white meat myself. I'm even more inspired now, seeing your photos, though I'll probably buy the noodles (I've become a sucker for the Cipriani ones, unless I make it up to Arthur Ave. this weekend, to buy tripe AND fresh pasta).

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              The three pounds of rabbit just barely fit into my 12" cast iron skillet. I'd say maybe 2-1/2 pounds? But I also think the quantities are flexible. As long as one follows the timing, the amount of sauce can be adjusted depending on how much you want. Now that I know how good it is, I'd prefer to have even more.

                              And if you prefer white meat, I'll bet that would be good as well. My only concern would be whether or not breast pieces would cook more quickly than either the rabbit or the thighs. But you could always remove them during the frying part and then return them for the braising part.

                            2. re: JoanN

                              Slurp, slurp. Photos are verrry evocative. I actually love rabbit, but my husband agrees with you who say it's too much trouble for so little meat. I think the only way to eat it is to pick up the goopy pieces and gnaw on them. JoanN, noodles are a great accompaniment.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                Oh Yippeee! I'm so glad you skipped my advice and went ahead and tried it and loved it. The sauce is just so good, and I honestly think you could use rabbit or chicken (either white or dark meat), but I do think that you'd have to be more careful with cooking time with light meat chicken. This sticks around in the heat so long that it could easily dry out. Bone-in thighs would probably be the ideal meat for this.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Phwoah does that look great! I love rabbit myself so I'll have to give it a try come Autumn. It will have to be very good to surpass my favourite bunny dish, which is rabbit braised with calvados, cider and cream.

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    I've just re-read your report as wild rabbit is in season now, and I'm shocked by how much yours cost! For comparison, they're four pounds each in my local farmer's market at the moment, and that's in London. It does sound wonderful so I'll definitely be trying this dish soon.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      I made this tonight using rabbit, and while the sauce was great, the rabbit was somewhat tough. It was supposed to be farmed rabbit, but it refused to fall off the bone despite being cooked for an hour and a half! I love rabbit, but I just can't seem to cook it the way the French can, so it's gorgeous and tender. Harumph.

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        That was the one an only time I've made rabbit; just too pricey here for something that didn't bowl me over. But I find it a bit odd that both of us had the same reaction: great sauce, bunny too tough. Could it be that the problem is in the recipe rather than in the bunny?

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          And I had no problem with toughness with dark meat chicken (even off the bone). I'm really surprised about the rabbit. I don't think I've ever had it be tough before (not that I have a ton of experience with it).

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            Yes, I've always simmered rabbit in a lot more liquid in the past. Having said that, it's always been wild rabbit, and farmed rabbit is supposed to be a lot more tender (more like chicken, in fact).

                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                              As much as I love Hopkinson (which is a lot), I don't think his directions are always that clear. So obviously the problem isn't YOU, dear GG!

                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                Well I do seem to have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to bunny, so it might well be! I am going to persevere, once I find a good supplier of said rabbit.

                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                    This recipe (or, at least, one extremely similar) was the cause of me "going off" eating bunny a couple of years ago. I'd bought one from the market; had the butcher joint it and basically followed the recipe. The cream split and it looked awful. Tasted it and it was even worse (don't know why - I think either the cream or Bugs B was off). Threw the lot in the bin and phoned out for pizza.

                                    My sister in law is married to a Spaniard and we went to visit a few years back. They took us to visit his father's huerto (a small growing area - in the UK, we'd call it an allotment). He grew vegetables, had some orange trees and, in a corner, there was a rabbit hutch. Really cute bunnies. We got one out to hold & stroke.

                                    Yes, you've guessed it. Our Spanish is not that good. Father hadnt been asking which one we "liked". He'd been asking us which we "liked to eat". Next day, it arrives skinned and jointed. Mrs H could not bring herself to eat it. It was delicious - grilled over charcoal with very garlicky aioli & salad.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      I'm thinking about doing this this week w/ the chicken - how much did you use? Thanks!