Lapin Moutarde

lapinSome dishes feel more French than others. Here’s a household favourite which feels particularly French, and we ate it while cycling in the Pyrenees.

Rabbit stew in a mustard sauce, served with green beans and prunes.

You’d have to butcher a rabbit unless you can buy readily diced rabbit.

Get the beans going first, as they need more time than the rabbit stew. Clean the green french beans, wash and rinse. Fry some tiny bits of bacon, a small and finely chopped onion, then gently steam the green beans in just a tiny splash of water. Add a twig of thyme.

When the beans are about 10 minutes on their way, shallow-fry a handful of dry-cured bacon. Add a small and finely diced onion, and a crushed small clove of garlic. Then add a bit of olive oil and the meat, which you tossed in a mix of one tablespoon of white flour and one table spoon of mustard powder. Add crushed black pepper. Fry and stir until it colours nicely, then add a glass of dry white wine and stir-in a large teaspoon of nice hot mustard.

Put the lid on and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, then season to taste using salt, black pepper, nutmeg, and more mustard.

Add two tablespoons of prunes to each portion. Simply use the canned stuff, with a bit of the syrup.

Serve with fresh white bread.

Choucroute De Mer

DSC_0748 (2)This is the perfect split between my German home cooking and my current home in England. I call it Fish and Chips, Brittany-style for the English, Sauerkraut Unn Fisch for the Germans, and Choucroute de Mer for the French-aware among us. I have heard of French people denying this meal’s authenticity, but trust me. You’ll find it in many places in Brittany. For further reference see Maison Kammerzell in Strasbourg, who has Choucroute aux Trous poissons as well as Choucroute au Saumon on the menu. So there you are.

It’s simple, it’s surprising, it’s different, it’s impressive, it’s delicious.

For 4 to 5 people, you’ll need a large jar (850g?) of Sauerkraut (=Choucroute). In England, you can now get it in most Supermarkets, and in all Polish Delicatessen. You’ll also need 120 g of salmon (lightly smoked salmon pieces preferred) per person, perhaps also 100 g of white fish such as Cod or Haddock, and a couple of large prawns or scallops.

First, cut half an onion into half rings, fry with a little white fat or lard and a good handful of dry cured lardons or good quality bacon. Drain the Sauerkraut, then add with half a cup of dry white wine, 3 crushed juniper berries, 2 bay leaves, a pinch of salt. Cover and let simmer on very low heat. Time is not critical provided the heat is very low.

Heat butter in a frying pan and gently fry pieces of salmon. Sear the scallops or prawns, perhaps poach the white fish in milk.

Now finish the Sauerkraut with a generous amount of double cream. Stir this well under.

You’re done!

Put a nice heap of kraut on each plate, fish and seafood on top. Serves well with steamed potatoes, crispy potato wedges and, of course, with freshly baked bread.

Goes with the remainder of the dry white wine and lots of Aaaaaahs.