Well, I have to report that the rabbit stew was delicious, if a little long in the making. DJ insisted on doing the honours – I think it must be a hunter gatherer thing – and chose a very tasty Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe from his Meat book, which I bought him for Christmas a couple of years ago. It features a mustard and cream sauce (apologies to Weightwatchers) with celery and carrots and is delicious.
The only problem was how long it took to cook. Apparently it’s all down to how old the rabbit is – which is a bit difficult to tell if you’re new to all this wild food stuff and not, er…exactly on speaking terms with Mr Bunny. DJ started dinner at about 6.30 last night and by 9.00 he still wasn’t happy with the texture of the meat and the potatoes hadn’t finished cooking because he’d only just put them on. By 9.15 I declared that I would start eating my own trousers if we didn’t eat our dinner that instant, so he served up anyway.
This was only the second time I’ve eaten rabbit but it was good, if a bit chewy. DJ was typically self-critical about his cooking and, in a disappointed tone, declared that the dish “needed work”. I think next time we’ll have to stew the heck out of it over several hours to soften it up. But it’s no bad thing. I always tend to find stews taste even better the next day as leftovers anyway, and there was certainly no meat left on the plate by the time we’d finished. As for the gory bits, they’re currently languishing in the freezer until bin day as DJ thought the smell might offend the neighbours…but enough of that!
Thanks for the comments you left on yesterday’s blog, by the way. They made for insightful reading and have given me a number of ideas. I’m not sure about going shooting myself though, as unlike the great Hugh Fearnley I am an incorrigible coward when it comes to killing small furry animals (well, apart from putting out of their misery small birds or mice my cat has mauled) although being a hypocrite I am quite happy to eat them when somebody else has. And I have been shooting in the past – although only at metal targets – and I am an appalling shot. So I think I’ll stick to Sharon’s suggestion of picking hedgerow fruits. I think DJ may be up for going shooting though, so maybe John the Poacher as I’m thinking of christening him (although of course I must stress he’s not actually a poacher!) might take him along some time.
It’s interesting that comment leaver They Call Me Todge mentioned dining on road kill, as I have another friend who lives in a rural area and also goes shooting, but isn’t averse to picking up dead pheasants etc. that he finds along the roadside. I believe the rule is that if you hit it yourself you can’t take it, but if you find one along the road that’s already a gonner then it’s ok. Of course, you need to be sure what it has died of. It’s not a good idea to eat something if the cause of death isn’t obvious, because it may be diseased. He also suggests turning up at the butchers on February 1 – the end of the pheasant shooting season – when it’s likely that pheasants will be highly discounted as the butcher panics to sell them. And you don’t have to do all the messy gutting and plucking yourself.
Would you dine on road kill? Or does the thought of it make you feel sick? (Apologies in advance to vegetarians).