Monday, September 6, 2010
This Saturday we made a quick run up to Todi, from Rome. Our house is rented out, and Saturday is change-over day, so we only had a few quick hours check on things, root around the vegetable garden and pick some figs. (more on that later) Even though any visit to our house is a pleasure, it’s also a bit of work. There is always something that needs to get done. That’s why we love, love, love going to our friend Laura’s house up in the country.
Laura’s house feels like our own home, but since it’s not, we can totally relax. There are no chores looming! So, on Saturday rather than head straight back to Rome, we made a detour and stopped at Laura’s for a mini-vacation. Even though we were only there for four hours, we managed to fit in a great meal, a wonderful nap and a refreshing swim before heading back to Rome.
Sometimes I pitch in and whip up something at Laura’s but this time her excellent cook, Paola, had prepared an extraordinary stuffed rabbit. It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. (I know, I say this all the time) Crispy on the outside, juicy and full of flavor on the inside. With Laura’s own wine to wash it down, no wonder we needed a nap afterwards.
How do you stuff a rabbit , you ask? Well, it’s pretty complicated, so here are the photos of Paola in action. Rather than write out the recipe, I’ll just add captions.
First, Paola had to bone the rabbit. FYI, rabbits have LOTS of small, niggly bones. So it was an extraordinary feat!
Limp, boneless bunny, waiting to be stuffed. There's actually not much meat on a rabbit, so the stuffing turned out to be major.
Paola cuts up a dry loaf of bread, and lets it soak for a while in water.
A few eggs, and LOTS of salt. Umbrians like things salty.
Sauteing cut up chicken livers and a few sausages in a pan, then tipping them into the bowl with the eggs.
Remember that soggy bread? Paola squeezed the water out, then used it to sop up the sausages and liver juices, and in it goes with the stuffing.
After laying twine under the rabbit, Paola gently spreads the stuffing on top.
Making sure none of the stuffing escapes.
Carefully tying the knots. She started in the center then worked her way out.
Tucking in the ends.(Plus, a lot more salt)
Tied up tight, nestled in the pan, bathed in rosemary, garlic and olive oil. And more salt.
Finally, after two hours in the oven, the bunny's done. Yes, those congealed burnt pieces at the bottom of the pan were heavenly.
It wasn't easy to cut in neat slices. But who cares? (That's Sophie in the background, making sure nothing goes to waste).
Once the rabbit got to the table there was lots of begging.
Just so you realize how splendid the day was, the view from the table.
Thanks for lunch Laura and Jim!!!
Mille grazie Paola!!