Lesson 43:Stuffing Peter Rabbit

Friday, January 22, 2010

Peter Rabbit made his second appearance in kitchen 1401 today (well, third if you count mod 1).  Allison and I decided to tackle the multiple-step Stuffed Saddle of Rabbit recipe.  I was very intrigued by this recipe because of its many parts (and the fact that I have never heard of a saddle of rabbit).

Chef Ana began the class by demonstrating how to fabricate the saddle.  We had to take the chain bone out carefully so that the two outer flaps did not separate.  I watched carefully, unsure of whether I could replicate her techniques.  

I was so afraid of messing up and ruining the saddle, but in the end I was successful!  I had minimal holes in my saddle and didn't make any mistakes (yahoo!).  Fabricating can get very frustrating to me so I was happy with this good start to the day.
Next, I cleaned and chopped up a variety of mushrooms in the robot coupe.  Allison sauteed them with shallots, garlic, white wine, parsley and thyme.  We let the stuffing cool and started prepping the rabbits for stuffing.

We laid out the caul fat and placed the fabricated rabbit saddles on top.  Next, we spread out some stuffing in the center of each saddle:

We wrapped it up like a burrito and tied the ends with string:

They were all set for searing!  I browned all sides of the rabbit in some canola oil.  While we were working on the rabbits, my other team members were working on the other dishes of the day.  Shown on the stove is the butternut squash and red peppers sauteing for the Israeli cous cous and the sauce simmering for the penne with chantarelle mushrooms and sundried tomatoes.  

On the other stove, a Mexican chicken stew was simmering (I never got a picture of it, but it was full of spicy, Mexican flavors).

Here is a picture of the penne plated up.  It was delicious as expected.  The sauce is made with heavy cream and mascarpone, so it's gotta be good!

I absolutely love Israeli cous cous, so I really liked this dish.  I really like the chewy texture of the small pearls of pasta.  The only thing this dish needed was some grated parmesan on top!  I also think roasting the vegetables would have added more flavor than just sauteing them, but it was still very good!

Finally, I took my rabbits out of the oven.  I learned my lesson from yesterday's undercooked fish and called Chef Ana over to check the doneness of the rabbit before I removed them from the pan.  She went through each rabbit with me, feeling it and showing me how to tell if it is done.  Luckily, they were all perfectly cooked through!  I let them rest on a rack while I made the veal reduction sauce.

I took out some of the excess fat that added up in the pan (there was a lot because all of the caul fat melted off of the rabbit).  Then, I added sliced mushrooms and let them brown.  I de-glazed the pan with brandy and white wine and let it reduce by 1/2.  Next, I added veal stock and let that reduce until it was nice and thick.  At the end, I added tomatoes, parsley, and a large pinch of salt.  Off the heat, I mounted the sauce with butter.  The sauce tasted really good when it was done.  Chef tasted it before it reduced and hated it because of the awful wine flavor (the wine we use isn't the greatest).  But, she tasted it at the end and said it was sooo much better.  I was very proud and satisfied with my performance in class today.

Tomorrow we begin breakfast cookery with a four hour class on cooking eggs!


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