TAIL OF TWO RABBITS

(Dear readers, We are still having technical difficulties. To see all post please go to the HOME button. Thanks You for your patience.  Sandie)

 PART TWO

In 1722 Edward Kidder published his cookery book, called “The Receipts of Pastry and Cookery”. At this time he was already teaching the techniques of cookery in his school  in London and to wealthy ladies in their own homes.

His receipt for A brown Fricassee of Chicken or Rabbit, was going to be my number two Rabbit receipt.  As you  know I was not happy with the first one. After reading this receipt, I decided to alter it to my taste. Instead of white wine I would use sherry, and, because we have enough rabbit tenders to eat, I would eliminate the ‘Shiver’d Pallats’ (sliced cooked beef) and savory balls. Yes, this will change the taste somewhat, however I’m not feeding an army just the two of us. And I do want to have the flavor of the rabbit to really be the highlight of the dish.

One of the treats growing up  was to bake potatoes in the fireplace. They were wrapped in foil and everyone took turns rolling them around so the sides baked evenly. We did this every week. And ate them by the fire while we watched Lawrence Welk, Ed Sullivan Show or Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.  Once we even watched my sister Phyllis sing and duke it out with another contestant. My sister came in second.

I haven’t done potatoes like this in a long time so with a brisk fire going and coals ready, Allan made a nice pile of them in the corner and I put the foil wrapped-potatoes on the coals.  Okay, back to  Kidder.

Earlier in the week I took out all the packages of chicken gizzards, and backs I had cut from Cornish hens and  tossed in the freezer.  They come in handy when you need a quick gravy. I put them in a pot with some chicken broth, onion, parsley, garlic and salt and pepper then simmered them (with the exception of the liver). This cooked for about 45 minutes then I strained it  I then made a roux and added it to the broth and I had a nice gravy ready for the Rabbit Fricassee .

In the afternoon, I took out from the freezer, the French rolls that I had made the week before. I put four on them in a dish covered with a cloth and let them defrost. When they were beginning to warm I dampened the cloth and put them in a warm place to rise. I must say I was surprised how much they rose, and I was really happy with the results. When the potatoes began to get soft, I brushed the tops with butter and started them in a bake kettle.

I floured the rabbit tenders, and sautéed them in  browned butter in the skillet. When they had a nice color, I removed them to a plate to keep warm. I poured a little broth into the pan to deglaze it than added  more butter, the  leeks, mushroom, thyme, garlic and parsley. I let this all cook over the heat until the mushrooms and leeks were soft. While the pan was hot I added the sherry and burned off the alcohol, the taste would remain in the sauce. The gravy and some chicken broth went in next and then another lump of floured butter to thicken it up.  After I mixed this about, I squeezed a little lemon juice on it.Allan poked the potatoes and they were ready. The beans were al dente, the way we like them, and the rolls a wonderful golden hue. The rabbit was cooked to perfection.

Well, I did not hold true to Kidder’s receipt. However, I think the beef and savory balls would have perhaps added a  overwhelming flavor to the delicate rabbit. I likes this dish and will make it again.

Coming up: Savory and Sweet Workshop blog. Stay tune.

Sandie

“You cook good rabbit, pilgrim.” from the film Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

Receipts

Pastry and Cookery  1722

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About Sandie

Since I was a small child I have loved early fireplaces and the smell of smoke in an old house. However it was not until about Fifteen years ago that my journey into hearth cooking began. It all started at the Hurd House Museum in Woodbury Ct. I was the director of the Junior Docent program and among the programs each week we cooked. At about the same time a group of us started the Culinary Historians of Connecticut meeting once a month to discuss equipment used, receipt (18th century term for recipe), and anything between the late 1600 to late 1700 that had to do with hearth cooking. We were fortunate to try our hand at cooking at several Museums throughout Ct and many more private homes. We made cheese; we held a late 1600 dinner and shared our knowledge with others. Our group designrd our own tours such as the Kitchens of Old Wethersfield. In 2000 we were delighted to host the Historic Foodways group of ALFAM at the Hurd House during their conference at Mystic Seaport. We put together a great workshop of Puddings, Sausages, Brown Bread, Beverages you name it we offered it. I am now a member of the ALFAM foodways group. Then it was off to Colonial Williamsburg for the seminar The Art of 18th-Century Cooking: Farm to Hearth to Table. During the years I joined many workshops in Sturbridge Village plus their Dinner in a Country Village and breakfast at the Freeman Farm. So I was pretty much hooked on heart cooking and the 18th century way of life. I joined a wonderful group of ladies and we started the “Hive” a place to improve and grow your 18th century impression and offer research about material culture in 17070’s New England. We also travel with friends and have displays of clothing and teas at Museums in Massachusetts. Many events are held at the Hartwell Tavern at Minute Man National Park. They have been gracious enough to let us play there and entertain and share our knowledge with their visitors. Please visit our “Hive” site if the 1700 interest you. Then the move to New Hampshire and a job at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth as the co-coordinator of the Junior Role Playing workshop and eventually cooking in front of the hearth at the Wheelwright house. Not only did I enjoy making my evening meals at the hearth to take home but also talking with the visitors. I am an entertainer after all, check out my program page. Most recently I am working at the Museum of Old York in Maine as an educator, hearth cook and organizer of the Junior Docent cooking program in the summer. See some photos in the archive file Because I do make food with the docents and serve food to the public at our Tavern Dinners I took the National Restaurant Association tests called ServSafe and now have my Certification as a Restaurant Manager. I look forward to the Museum of Old York opening again this March 2012 and getting back to the hearth and teaching, however for now I’m cooking at home and enjoying doing so.

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