Archive for the 'Rabbit' Category

Food Week: Christopher Kimball on Wild Game

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017
Christopher Kimball, host Milk Street on PBS

Christopher Kimball, host Milk Street on PBS. Photo Milk Street

This is Passport to Texas Food Week

Christopher Kimball, former host of America’s Test Kitchen (current host of Milk Street) on PBS TV, is a hunter. Yet, when he included an image of rabbits he shot on his TV show, it didn’t go over well.

Years ago, I had a photograph of me holding up two or three rabbits that I had shot – because I do a lot of rabbit hunting in the winter. America Public Television distributes our show, and I think they sent out a warning indicating the stations may want to gray out that particular photograph. So, most people are not prepared for that, probably.

If you are prepared, and ready to become a hunters, find information to get youstarted on the TPW website.

You see more women hunting now than you did. And, I think in certain parts of the country there’s more of it.

Kimball says when cooking game, you must know the optimal methods for each wild protein.

The tough, dark meat you braise slowly – like the back legs of the rabbit. But, the very lean tenderloin – or backstrap – that gets cooked in about five minutes. Some of that meat you can barely cook – like the tenderloin of a deer. You don’t want to cook it much over medium rare. But, if you have other cuts of meat that are tougher and really need a long, slow cooking – you really have to think about the cuts that way. Because, game meat isn’t fatty. And actually, that’s why they larded. And I’ve done it – larded venison, because it needed the fat. It’s not like a 300 pound pig that’s got a lot of fat in it.

Find game recipes on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Cooking up Cottontail Carnitas

Thursday, February 16th, 2017
Cottontail carnitas a la Evin Cooper

Cottontail carnitas a la Evin Cooper

This is Passport to Texas

I think the late chef and cookbook author, Julia Child coined the expression: Easter Bunny Syndrome. It’s when we decide which animals not to eat based on their perceived cuteness. Rabbits fall into that category.

As Central Texas writer, cook and mom, Evin Cooper tells us, rabbits are as delicious as they are cute, and even better than pork in carnitas. She says her first attempt using cottontails was a success, and began with two rabbits in a slow cooker.

And, I stewed them all day with some beer and some homemade salsa, and let them cook and cook and cook. And then, let them cool—and then I deboned the meat. Then, I let the meat sit in the fridge overnight, and the next day I seasoned it up a little bit more with chili powder and cumin and all those wonderful Mexican spices. And I fried them in some hot oil—just the shredded meat—almost like hash browns. It got really crispy on the bottom, and I flipped it over and got it crispy on the other side—almost to the point of burnt. Then, I put it in warm corn tortillas with avocado slices and lime juice. It was so good. I mean, I’ve given up pork for my carnitas. And I want to use almost entirely cottontail now. It’s just delicious.

Find Evin Cooper’s Cottontail Carnitas recipe at passporttotexas.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.
____________________________________________

Rabbit Carnitas
Evin Cooper says to make this flavorful dish is a two-day process, and well worth the effort.

Day One
• 2-3* good size jackrabbits/cottontails, skinned and cleaned
• 1 cup salsa
• 1 beer
Day Two
• Corn or canola oil
• taco seasoning**
• prepared rabbit meat
• corn tortillas
• cilantro
• diced onion
• avocado
• lime

For the meat:
The day before you want to serve the tacos, wash the rabbits and pat dry. In a crockpot or a large stock pot, add the rabbits, salsa and beer. Use both your favorite salsa and beer. (Stick with a lighter beer. Dark beers will overpower the flavor of the meat.) Cook the rabbits until they are fall-off-the-bone tender (3-4 hours on the stove, 4-6 hours in a crockpot) and allow to cool a bit. When you can handle the rabbits, pull the meat off the bone and discard the bones. Add the juices from the pot to the shredded meat and refrigerate overnight.
To prepare the tacos:
Heat about ½ inch of oil in a shallow, wide skillet. Toss the cold meat with the taco seasoning and the reserved juices until well combined – use your hands for even distribution. When the oil shimmers, grab a handful of the shredded rabbit and squeeze out most of the juice and put it into the hot oil. Repeat the squeezing process until there is an even layer of meat in the pan, and press down with a spatula once, then leave it alone. Let the bottom get crispy, then toss the meat and press the non-crispy side into the pan to crisp. When crispy, remove from the pan and drain, and repeat with the rest of the meat until all the rabbit has had a turn in the hot oil.
Meanwhile warm corn tortillas on a comal (or in a heavy skillet), dice red onions, chop cilantro, slice limes and cube some avocado, crumble some cotija cheese (optional)
Top a warm corn tortilla with about ¼ cup of the crispy meat, and the toppings of your choice.

*I got about 8 tacos per rabbit, but it really depends on the size of your kill and how stuffed you like your tacos!
**Please don’t use a packet from the grocery store! If you don’t already have a taco mix recipe that you love, find one! Or, you can just season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano and chile.

Food Week: A French Chef Talks Wild Game

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
Chef Jacques-Pepin, photo KQED

Chef Jacques-Pepin, photo KQED

This is Passport to Texas

If you watch PBS television cooking shows, you’ve probably seen this man:

My name is Jacques Pepin.

80-year-old Jacques Pepin is a classically trained French chef, author, and PBS cooking show host. He says in his youth, most of the meat he ate came from wild game.

We follow the season, and the season in the fall in France we have the rabbit and the pheasant and the stuff. You go to market and see the game hanging.

Jacques Pepin’s final PBS series is Heart & Soul. Before that, it was Essential Pepin. Like all his shows, Essential Pepin included a companion book and DVD that was going to include how to skin a rabbit after harvest.

But the skinning of the rabbit, they have removed it already so you’re not going to see it. And I knew it. They got berserk when they saw it. They said, “Oh my God!” Well, it’s good to get closer to Mother Nature and to realize where your food comes from.

It may seem gruesome, but the alternative, says Chef Pepin, is what we have now: generations of people who only recognize food if it’s in neatly cut pieces and wrapped in plastic.

I mean, this is pretty scary when you think of it.

Sign up for the Hunt Texas e-newsletter on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, and learn about hunting for your next meal.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunting and New World Independence

Thursday, November 26th, 2015
Back in Time for Thanksgiving, image courtesy of http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/

Image courtesy of http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/

This is Passport to Texas

This week we commemorate the first Thanksgiving. While our turkeys come from the store, Pilgrims hunted for theirs. Did you know that prior to the Pilgrim’s arrival in 1620 few of them had ever hunted wild game?

10—The first people to come over wouldn’t have been able to hunt [in England] because the land was owned by the rich and that’s where you hunted. So, when they came to America and were able to hunt anywhere, it was actually a real expression of their new lives.

Simon Majumdar is a hunter, food writer and judge on Food Network TV competitions. He says along with being deeply rooted in the American identity, hunting puts good food on the table.

13—I’m a great believer if you hunt for food that you’re going to eat some really amazing dishes. I mean, I’ve hunted many times in the UK: deer, wild birds…rabbit. I do a lot of rabbit hunting in the United Kingdom. And I think the food often just tastes better.

Plus, he says, you know its origins. Simon Majumdar, author of Fed, White and Blue: Finding America with My Fork says despite our long history with hunting and eating wild game, some Americans remain reticent.

10—I always blame Walt Disney. Walt Disney has a lot to answer for because everyone thinks of like Bambi and Thumper. And they’re really just sources of food. So, I’m very unsentimental with it.

Be sentimental when giving thanks this season, and pass the turkey.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Evin Cooper’s Cottontail Carnitas

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015
Evin Cooper's Cottontail Carnitas.

Evin Cooper’s Cottontail Carnitas.

This is Passport to Texas

In 1980, when word spread that author and celebrity chef, Julia Child, planned to prepare rabbit and leek pie on her PBS TV series, the public protested. Their reaction has since been termed: Easter Bunny Syndrome…it’s when we decide which animals not to eat based on their perceived cuteness.

As writer, cook and mom, Evin Cooper tells us, rabbits are as delicious as they are cute, and even better than pork in carnitas. She says her first attempt using cottontails was a success, and began with two rabbits in a slow cooker.

45—And, I stewed them all day with some beer and some homemade salsa, and let them cook and cook and cook. And then, let them cool—and then I deboned the meat. Then, I let the meat sit in the fridge overnight, and the next day I seasoned it up a little bit more with chili powder and cumin and all those wonderful Mexican spices. And I fried them in some hot oil—just the shredded meat—almost like hash browns. It got really crispy on the bottom, and I flipped it over and got it crispy on the other side—almost to the point of burnt. Then, I put it in warm corn tortillas with avocado slices and lime juice. It was so good. I mean, I’ve given up pork for my carnitas. And I want to use almost entirely cottontail now. It’s just delicious.

Find Evin Cooper’s Cottontail Carnitas recipe at passporttotexas.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.
________________________________________________________

Rabbit Carnitas

Evin Cooper says to make this flavorful dish is a two-day process, and well worth the effort.

Day One

  • 2-3* good size jackrabbits/cottontails, skinned and cleaned
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 beer

Day Two

  • Corn or canola oil
  • taco seasoning**
  • prepared rabbit meat
  • corn tortillas
  • cilantro
  • diced onion
  • avocado
  • lime

For the meat:

The day before you want to serve the tacos, wash the rabbits and pat dry. In a crockpot or a large stock pot, add the rabbits, salsa and beer. Use both your favorite salsa and beer. (Stick with a lighter beer. Dark beers will overpower the flavor of the meat.) Cook the rabbits until they are fall-off-the-bone tender (3-4 hours on the stove, 4-6 hours in a crockpot) and allow to cool a bit. When you can handle the rabbits, pull the meat off the bone and discard the bones. Add the juices from the pot to the shredded meat and refrigerate overnight.

To prepare the tacos:

Heat about ½ inch of oil in a shallow, wide skillet. Toss the cold meat with the taco seasoning and the reserved juices until well combined – use your hands for even distribution. When the oil shimmers, grab a handful of the shredded rabbit and squeeze out most of the juice and put it into the hot oil. Repeat the squeezing process until there is an even layer of meat in the pan, and press down with a spatula once, then leave it alone. Let the bottom get crispy, then toss the meat and press the non-crispy side into the pan to crisp. When crispy, remove from the pan and drain, and repeat with the rest of the meat until all the rabbit has had a turn in the hot oil.

Meanwhile warm corn tortillas on a comal (or in a heavy skillet), dice red onions, chop cilantro, slice limes and cube some avocado, crumble some cotija cheese (optional)

Top a warm corn tortilla with about ¼ cup of the crispy meat, and the toppings of your choice.

*I got about 8 tacos per rabbit, but it really depends on the size of your kill and how stuffed you like your tacos!

**Please don’t use a packet from the grocery store! If you don’t already have a taco mix recipe that you love, find one! Or, you can just season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano and chile.