August 3rd, 2011
I wasn’t really planning to make a chilli, but once again, I visited the butcher and bought a saddle of rabbit and a corn fed chicken, because they were on special offer. Having bought them, the contents of my fridge dictated how I used them.
It’s worth noting that rabbits are not indigenous to Britain, they were probably brought here and farmed by the Normans, for meat and fur, after 1066. I’ve read that rabbits were brought here earlier by the Romans, but there’s no documentary evidence of rabbits in Britain until the 12th Century.
Chicken and Rabbit with stock recipe:
1 medium sized chicken (jointed)
1 large saddle of rabbit (or a whole rabbit jointed)
1 large onion
3 sticks of celery
6 pieces of garlic
a large pinch of course sea salt
8 black peppercorns
a few sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme
2 bay leaves
a slug of extra virgin olive oil
1 glass of red wine
a splash of red wine vinegar
enough cold water to nearly cover the meat
I’m not a fan of all the tiny bones in a rabbit, so whenever I cook it, I tend to do it in stock and then remove the bones from the meat before continuing.
Joint and brown the chicken meat for a couple of minutes per side, followed by the rabbit. By browning meat, sugars in it are caramelised and this adds flavour.
Once the meat is browned, transfer it to a large, cast iron, casserole, along with the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. Save the meat fat and deglaze the frying pan with the wine and vinegar – the deglaze can be added to the casserole. Bring the casserole to boiling, reduce to a simmer and skim off any scum floating on the surface. Put the lid on the casserole and transfer it to the oven, pre heated to 100ºC for an hour to cook the meat and produce stock.
I decided to use chickpeas in my recipe, but white beans would also be good. When using dried pulses, soak them for an hour in boiling water and then cook them in a pressure cooker (as per the recommendations in the manual). A few pieces of garlic and some bay leaves add flavour during the cooking. Half a pound of chickpeas or beans will double in size and weight, when soaked and boiled. You could use tinned, but I find that dried pulses have more bite and texture, than something which might have been soaking in a can for a year or two. Once cooked, drain the chickpeas before using.
When the meat has cooked for and hour, remove it from the oven and take it out of the casserole to cool. Strain the stock and discard all the cooked vegetables and herbs. When cool, remove the meat from the bones and break it up a little. Don’t make the meat pieces too small, because they will fall apart during the cooking process.
Chicken and Rabbit Chilli recipe:
chicken and rabbit meat as prepared above
chicken and rabbit fat from the preparation above
4 slices of smoked streaky bacon (chopped)
half a hot chorizo ring (remove the skin and chop)
2 green chillies (finely chopped)
1 red chilli (finely chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
8 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
1 green pepper (deseeded and chopped)
2 courgettes (chopped)
8 small mushrooms (chopped)
6 plum tomatoes (blanched, peeled and chopped or tinned)
1 lb chickpeas (cooked or tinned)
4 desert spoons of tomato purée
6 teaspoons of hot smoked pimentón
a glass of red wine
a couple of splashes of red wine vinegar
Fry the onion in chicken and rabbit fat, saved from the above meat preparation. When the onion goes translucent, fry the bacon until it takes some colour.
Next comes the chopped chorizo, followed by chopped chillies and garlic.
When the chilli and garlic have been stirred in, the vegetables can be added and stirred in, in this order:
Stir in the cooked chicken and rabbit
followed by the pimentón. I like things hot, so if you prefer a milder chilli, start with 4 teaspoons of pimentón (you can always add more to taste later).
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, the wine and the wine vinegar.
The chickpeas and stock come last. Don’t add all the stock – stir some in and stop when you have a thick sauce. Don’t let it get too runny, it’s easier to add more later, if it gets a bit dry.
I was looking for a fairly thick sauce and I wanted to keep the vegetables crispy. Since the meat had been pre cooked, I didn’t want it to fall apart too much either. At this point I tasted the chilli, checked and adjusted the flavour to taste and once it got to nearly boiling, I turned the gas off and let it rest for an hour, so that all the flavours could mingle. After an hour I heated it up again to serve. At that point I did add a little bit more red wine vinegar and a spoonful of pimentón. It should taste hot and smoky from the chilli, chorizo and pimentón, with a slight, almost earthy flavour.
Serve as it is, with sour dough toast, rubbed with raw garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Another serving suggestions would be, wrapped, in a corn tortilla with red and/or green salsa.