28 August 2009

Foie Gras, Magret, and Other Good Food From Gascony

Foie Gras, Magret, and Other Good Food From Gascony quite literally highlights the main ingredients of Gascone cooking, foie gras and duck. According to Paula Wolfert, Daquin is "The Gascon chef of France".

Gascony is an area in southwestern France between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, sort of... According to Andre Daguin, "The boarders of Gascony are elastic." It's a southern thing, like a Southerner defining the south. There is an old joke about the mother whose son gets into Vanderbilt. Her friend touches her shoulder and says, "Couldn't he get into a Southern school?" Even parts of Maryland are below the Mason/Dixon Line, but hardly Southern! To the man from Gascony, Paris is part of he Gascon, but only if he needs it.

While duck may be the ultimate dish of Gascony, this is a great preparation for rabbit.

Lapin au vin Vinaigre

1 small rabbit, about 3 pounds
Crushed white pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 tablespoons herbs de Provence
6 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
2/3 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup heavy cream

Have a butcher cut the rabbit into eight serving pieces: two shoulders, two back legs, and four loins. Place the pieces in a bowl and sprinkle with the crushed white pepper, a little salt and the herbs de Provence. Rub 3 tablespoons of the oil all over the rabbit and marinate for 2 hours.

Heat the remaining oil in a large saute pan over a high flame. Add the rabbit pieces: first the legs, then 2 minutes later the shoulders, and 2 minutes the loins. Stir in the onions and saute until the meat is golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cover, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the loins or they will be dry. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Degrease the pan, then deglaze it with the wine and vinegar. Reduce until the liquid is almost evaporated. Add the cream and reduce by a third. Season with salt. Return the meat to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to warm the pieces. Serve immediately with buttered noodles.
Cook this rabbit and you soul will be floating in the spirit of Gascony no matter where you may physically reside.

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