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Cover: A dish for all seasons

Recipes with white wine

17Sep 12

Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce

Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce
My mother-in-law sent me this rabbit in almond and liver sauce recipe to try because I mentioned that we don’t often cook rabbit at home. It’s not as popular and easy to get hold of here in the UK as it is in the rest of Europe, probably because it was so cheap and plentiful during WWII that it was later associated with food rationing. I think it’s making a comeback though, as I’ve seen it in some restaurants and “gastropubs”. And with the economic downturn, it makes a cheap and lower fat alternative to other meats.

Also, it’s in season all year round, but my butcher tells me that the best sized rabbits are available from July to December. I suggest buying wild rabbit; it’s free range and has a natural diet, which means it’s tastier and better for you. Most butchers should have it – just check that it’s wild and British.

If you’ve never tried this meat, I really recommend this dish, as the almond sauce goes really well with the subtle game taste of the rabbit. And why not also try my paella valenciana? Or this braised rabbit?

Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This Rabbit in Almond and Liver Sauce is perfect for those who have never tried rabbit.
Ingredients
  • 1 cleaned wild rabbit, jointed into 8 pieces, and its liver
  • 300ml meat stock
  • 200g roasted almonds
  • 125ml white wine
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Fry the rabbit’s liver and almonds with the bay leaf, white pepper and a large pinch of salt.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the meat stock.
  3. Purée in a blender, then set aside.
  4. Lightly fry the onion, garlic and rabbit pieces in a casserole with a pinch of salt, then add the wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the liver sauce to the casserole and boil for 30 minutes, until the rabbit meat is cooked.
  6. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Serve with boiled potatoes, chips, or your favourite vegetables.
Notes
Here are some tips from my butcher: Buy a rabbit with pink and rosy flesh, and a fresh smell. It shouldn’t have bruised or dark areas of flesh, nor should it have a very strong gamey smell. Wild rabbit is very tender, but be careful not to overcook it as it can turn tough.

 

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30Mar 12

Poached Pears with a Hot White Chocolate Liqueur Sauce

Pears with chocolate sauceIf frozen berries and white chocolate make a nice pairing, I think that the combination of pears and white chocolate is pretty divine, especially when the white chocolate sauce contains a little liqueur.  What a nice way to round off a special meal!

 

March is the last month of the pear season in the UK.  You can still find lots of delicious varieties out there.  Poached pears with a hot white chocolate liqueur sauce uses Conference pears.  This fruit is one of my personal favourites.  Pears have a special kind of sweetness and when ripe, a great softness, although pears also have that distinctive slightly gritty texture to them.  Apparently, when they are picked early and ripen off the tree, that gritty texture is less prevalent.

What you need:

  • 6 conference pears, stalks in place, peeled
  • 85g Demerara sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey, runny and clear
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
  • 450ml white wine
  • 255g white chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 120g butter, unsalted
  • 4-6 tbsp white chocolate liqueur

What to do:

  1. In a deep and heavy-based saucepan, add the white wine, cinnamon, vanilla essence and honey, and bring the mixture up to a gentle simmer.  Add the pears and turn the heat down to low, poaching the pears for about half an hour or until they are translucent in appearance.  Turn the pears over every now and then during poaching.
  2. Whilst the pears are cooking, you can get going with the white chocolate liqueur sauce.  Gently melt the white chocolate and the butter together in a separate pan.  When molten and combined, remove from the heat and stir in the white chocolate liqueur.
  3. Once the pears are translucent and soft, remove them from the saucepan and place them in the serving bowls, then reduce the white wine mixture to a third of its quantity.
  4. Pour some of the white wine reduction over each pear before pouring on the white chocolate sauce.

If you want to be really decadent, you can make a milk chocolate sauce as well. Take 255g of milk chocolate in small pieces and 120g of butter. As with the white chocolate sauce, stir together over a low heat until it is all molten and combined. Pour on top of the pears after the wine reduction and before the white chocolate.

Less than 30 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to 1 hour to cook

Makes: 6 puddings

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26Mar 12

Moules Mariniere

Moules MariniereMoules mariniere brings back memories of holidays in the south of France and close to the Spanish border where moules frites (mussels and chips) and mussels in Asturian cider are very popular.

British Mussels are in season in February.  If you’re lucky enough to find good ones, you will soon be making succulent and tasty mussels in a white wine and cream sauce, which you can enjoy as a starter, or as a main meal with nice hunks of granary bread, chips or a mixed salad.  It looks stunning in its presentation and is sophisticated to the palette.

Moules mariniere is most fun prepared in company, sampling the white wine together as you cook.  I use a splash of good white wine from the bottle I want to drink with the meal rather than a cheap cooking wine, which I believe improves the flavour significantly. Try this recipe with a very well chilled oaked chardonnay.

What you need:

  • 1.75kg fresh mussels
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 15g butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 100ml white wine
  • 120ml double cream (substitute for light crème fraiche if desired)

What you do:

  1. Wash the mussels thoroughly, removing and binning any that have opened and don’t close when lightly pressed in your fingers.
  2. Remove the beards from the mussels – these are the tough and fibrous strands which stick out of the closed shells.  Rinse the mussels once again.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pan (which needs to be large enough for the mussels to reach only half way up the pan) and fry the shallots and the onion until soft.
  4. Splash in the wine and add the mussels.  Turn up the heat at this point, cover the pan with a lid, and steam the mussels for 3-4 minutes.  Whilst the mussels are cooking, move them about every now and then by gently shaking the pan; there’s no need to remove the lid to do this.
  5. Pour in the cream, add the coriander, and remove from the heat.

10-15 minutes to prepare and cook

Makes: 4 generous starters or light main meals

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