Thursday, 3 March 2011

Cheap as chips

In these times of increasing food prices and economic uncertainty, everyone is trying to tighten their belt slightly. People are conscious that weekly food bills are reaching ridiculous levels, and we for one are trying to do something about it. The Petit Filoux household has a much loved subscription to a monthly food magazine, but most recipes do involve buying new ingredients, or items we seldom use. Even though this is good in the sense that it broadens our culinary experience and shakes us out of a food rut we occasionally find ourselves stuck in, it does mean our food bill goes up accordingly.

I feel strongly about animal welfare, and even though I'm not extreme about it, I do think that when it comes down to food, you should be careful about what you buy. Since seeing footage about chicken farms in particular, I have stopped buying cheap chicken. I feel that if you cannot afford good quality chicken, you shouldn't just buy the cheaper alternative (which in all cases will not provide as many nutrients and far more rubbish which they inject in the meat to make it look more plump/ juicier etc). Just buy the good stuff, only less often. Surely that's not unreasonable? One chef in particular always goes on about going to your local butcher's to buy cheap meat. However, you don't have to buy cheaper cuts to get a good deal. We went to ours at the weekend and noticed they still sell rabbits at £4.50. That's for a whole rabbit, already prepared for you (skinned, gutted, jointed). A rabbit, even though small in size, does have a lot of meat on it, and really, you can't get more free range than that! (They 're caught by ferrets during the corn harvest).

A while back we bought a couple and stuck them in the freezer. Now, rabbit isn't to every one's taste and I accept that. Personally, I love it, especially in a cream and mustard sauce. But it can be fiddly, and if you only ever eat chicken breast, you might find it too strong in taste. If you're up for a challenge though, or simply something slightly different, and good for your wallet, this is a dead simple recipe which will leave you with a smile on your face. And a full belly more importantly!

  • 2 shoulders and 2 legs (the saddle is best kept to enjoy in all its glory with a cream and mustard sauce)
  • a large handful of mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 carrot, cut in chunks
  • 1/2 leek, thickly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • a good slug of red wine (I used red wine ice cubes I'd made with a bottle we weren't too keen on but which would still be perfect for cooking)
  • 2tsp herbes de provence
  • 3tbsp single cream
  • 2tsp mustard
  • stock

  • Brown the rabbit in a little olive oil in a large pot.
  • Add the onions and mix around.
  • Add the mushroom, carrot, leek and garlic and leave to cook for 5min. Add the herbs and freshly ground pepper.
  • Add the red wine, turn the heat up to evaporate the alcohol, then add enough stock to cover the meat and veg.
  • Place in the oven at 150degrees C for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Take the pot out of the oven, take the meat out and place on a plate. Take the veg out with a slotted spoon and place in a pie dish/ whatever you have at hand.
  • Boil off the remaining stock if there's too much there, but keep a good enough amount, about 300ml, then pour in your dish over the veg.
  • Now shred the meat off the bones,  it should come off very easily.
  • Place the meat in the pie dish, then add the cream mixed in with a little mustard.
  • Roll some puff pastry on top then place in the oven for 30min at 200degrees C.
  • Serve with some roast potatoes.


Sue said...

Curse you Petit Filoux! :o) I was planning a rabbit pie post some time in the future. My butcher sells wild rabbit for about the same price as yours. He doesn't, however, have them in spring because they are breeding then. One rabbit isn't it really enough to feed a family of five which includes two teenage boys but it's still a bargain.

It looks delicious.
Sue x

Ali said...

Sounds yum! I love rabbit and shredding it off the bone avoids the thorny issue of coming across a little pellet of shot (clearly the ones at my butchers are caught old-stylie!)

PinkCat said...

That looks so good. I love rabbit pie.

Another cheap tip is the frozen meat in Lidl. We had some amazing venison a few weeks back. It was just diced venison that we made into a stew but it really melted in your mouth. We also had a frozen partridge from there which was also very tasty. x

The Curious Cat said...

I used to be much of the camp that didn't eat rabbit as I had my own pets and they are cute and fluffy and intelligent and just lovely... but I do agree with you that it makes very good sense to eat rabbit -especially when you consider animal welfare and also lots of rabbits get shot every year by farmers to protect their horses and cattle from broken legs and eating up the crops.

And at £4.50 it makes sense money wise too. So I am all for getting more experimental with my cooking and using rabbit going forward. xxx

PS Thanks for your comments on my last post - I pretty much agreed with everything you said. xxx

skybluepinkish said...

I'm very fond of rabbit, it was a staple when we were students (many many years ago!) We don't get as many round here as we used to, but they are only £3.50 in our local market so are an excellent tasty and cheap option.

H said...

cooked rabbit ragu last week but after washing bits of fur off the meat (!) i couldn't quite enjoy it!!