So, last night we went to a house we had never been to before and had dinner with people we had never sat down and eaten a meal with before? Just when I say that I have made enough friends and there couldn’t possibly be anyone else out there I could squeeze into my already packed-full life……I meet someone new and get excited about the prospect of getting to know more about them! I find as I get older I am too busy to form new acquaintances. I have become more set in my ways and sometimes don’t like my comfortable routine disturbed. Well, last night was a perfect example of how grateful I am when I make the effort. We (hubby & I) met Jim and Eileen through our business and after some very interesting chats (and, finding out that Eileen loved to cook as much as I do?… if nothing else, we could talk about food like two sports fanatics) we accepted an invitation to dinner. I told her I would probably have to blog about what she cooked and she was more than happy to be part of my mad mission of documenting every dinner I cook or eat each night.
Dinner was absolutely fabulous. We had a wonderfully tasty rabbit stew, and for anyone who is afraid to try rabbit because the meat might be strong or game-y tasting, it is not. It was mild and delicate and my kids ate it just as eagerly as the rest of us. I suppose we could have sat around and talked over crackers and cheese or take-out pizza, but, I have to say it yet again – the making of food for someone, the lovely smells wafting from the big casserole pot and watching across the table at these two people who have been together 30 odd years telling stories to us that they themselves have heard each other tell a million times, but yet not wanting to miss a syllable, was a real comfort. When I think about special moments with family and friends we are usually sitting around a table and eating something delicious – sentimental, but true.
The recipe that Eileen and Jim adapted their dish from came from Biba’s Taste of Italy by Biba Caggiano
You will need: 2 rabbits cut into 6 pieces each, 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1-2 tbs unsalted butter, 3 oz thickly slices pancetta finely minced, 4 oz thickly sliced prosciutto, finely minced, 7 sage leaves, minced, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 1 1/3 cup white wine, 1 14 0z can diced tomatoes, 1 14 oz can chicken broth, 1 tbs freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1 – Put a large deep pan on medium/high heat on stove-top. When hot add the oil and let the oil get hot. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper and add to pan in a single layer and cook until golden brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side?). Don’t crowd the pan or the meat will not brown! Remove meat to a plate when done.
2 – Pour some of the fat from pan and turn heat down to medium. Add butter, pancetta and prosciutto and stir for 2 minutes before adding the sage and garlic. Cook for a further minute.
3 – Raise heat to high and add the wine. Cook on high (scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any brown bits) until wine has almost evaporated.
4 – Return rabbit to the pan (should be a snug fit) and add the tomatoes and broth. Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat and partially cover and simmer on low (stirring occasionally) until meat is tender – about 50 minutes.
5 – When cooked, take off heat and stir parsley into pot. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
This was served with some wonderful potatoes
and a focaccia bread which Jim made.
We also had a lovely crisp salad. The salad was great but the most impressive thing about it was the salad bowl.
Can anyone guess what this is? My son and daughter recognised it immediately and asked incredulously if it was in fact a toddler seat – “Why yes it is!” replied Eileen. They saw it in some architectural store (I think?) and Jim thought it would make a perfect salad bowl. The salesman apparently couldn’t imagine how he thought, Toddler Seat = Salad Bowl? After seeing it full of bright colorful greens I couldn’t imagine a child’s bottom in it!