Sunday, March 09, 2008

Jamie At Home: Episode 9, Wild Game

Jamie Oliver is cooking Bugs Bunny today. OK, well, not exactly. But I know whenever I order rabbit on the menu, that’s what someone at the table undoubtedly says. But meat is meat, and Jamie says rabbit meat is cheap, lean and more flavorful than chicken (although it can taste like chicken when roasted).

He’s cooking in his sun room, and in a pan he puts the rabbit pieces along with a bunch of garlic, some rosemary twigs, about a wine glass of white wine, some olive oil, and salt and pepper. He covers the pan and brings everything to a boil so he can simmer the rabbit for an hour and half or hour and a quarter. Just until the meat is tender when you pinch it but the meat doesn’t come off the bone.

When it’s done, he says he typically lets the rabbit cool, but since he’s in a rush for our sake, he throws the pieces into a bowl of flour (along with the cooked garlic) and then transfers them into a tray of beaten eggs. Ah, I can see he’s getting ready to fry them. He places the pieces next to a bowl of bread crumbs, which look like panko. He adds some thyme and parmesan cheese to the bread crumbs, and coats the rabbit pieces with it.

He has a pot of oil heated up, and Jamie says the way to test to see if your oil is ready for some deep frying is to drop a small peeled potato inside and when it turns golden brown, then your oil is ready. (The old trick for Chinese chefs is to stick in a pair of wooden chopsticks and if little bubbles float up from the tips of the sticks, then that’s when the oil is ready.)

Jamie plops in the rabbit pieces and starts frying. When the rabbit is nearly done frying, he throws in a few twigs of rosemary into the oil to add more infused flavors. Fancy. He calls this Essex fried rabbit, and it’s perfect pub food if he owned a pub. He sprinkles it with sea salt and he’s done. “Life couldn’t be much sweeter,” he says, crunching away at his fried rabbit. Hmm, I don’t really eat fried food but fried rabbit sounds good right about now. (It’s also interesting how he squeezes fresh lemon on the rabbit before eating. I always associated lemon with fried seafood, but I guess you can use it for wild game like Bugs.)

Pan-roasted Venison

Jamie is outside talking to his gamekeeper Geoff Garrod. They’re talking about hunting deer and the importance of controlling deer. Something about how deer multiply like bunnies and then you have to control them (by hunting them, of course) or else they’ll destroy the forest. It was the same arguments the hunter said to shoot Bambi’s mom. (Just kidding!)

So Jamie’s at his outdoor wood-fire oven and he’s starting off by cooking with celeriac and potatoes. He’s going to make a dauphinoise. I’m not sure what that is but it’s basically creamy potatoes. (The complete recipe here at the Food Network site.)

He slices and quarters his celeriac, and then cuts them into quarter-inch slices. He does the same for his peeled potatoes, and then everything goes into a bowl so that he can mix them all with some sage, a couple of cloves of garlic, a handful of parmesan cheese, half pint of double cream, half pint of milk, and salt and pepper. Jamie mixes them all together with his hands. Then he layers them up on his baking dish, pouring all the remaining liquid. He adds more cheese on top (or course), then he covers with aluminum foil to make sure it cooks evenly. It goes into the oven at 350 degrees for half an hour.

He gets a venison loin and he prepares some spices that he’s going to coat the venison with. Jamie starts by getting 10 juniper berries and cracks them with the side of his knife. Then he tosses on some sea salt and pepper and rosemary twigs, then chops everything up finely. He scatters it around the chopping board and then rubs some oil all over his venison. (Jamie says the oddest things sometimes. When he was rubbing oil all over his venison, he says at one point “Yes mother.”) He rolls the venison all over the mixture, encrusting everything. Then he gets a heated pan from the oven, puts in more olive oil and then puts the venison on it searing both sides. He throws in a few more herbs and garlic. Then he puts it into his wood oven for 15 to 20 minutes. After that he’s going to bring it out and let it rest. Meat is so easy to cook.

Jamie then works on a quick sauce for his venison. But first he takes out the potato dish, which is bubbling after he takes off the aluminum foil. He grates more parmesan and says he’s making a gratin. He put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

He grabs his venison and places it on a plate to rest. Then he uses the pan to make the sauce, squeezing out the garlic and pops the pan back in the oven but you can do it on a stove top. It’s just that Jamie has to cook in his garden for this series. Anywho, he gets some red wine (“Not cheap old rubbish,” he says) and puts some of the wine in the pan to deglaze it along with a nub of butter, shaking all the ingredients. That’s pretty much the sauce.

Jamie slices up his venison about quarter inch slices. He says the center should be blushing, but could be more rear. He plates up the venison and adds a big spoonful of his potatoes. He’s really excited about this dish. He gets a sieve and pours his sauce through it and right onto his venison. James says to serve it with a nice bottle of Italian Chianti because you know Jamie’s all about the Italia.

Beautiful Game Ragu

Jamie’s in the tool shed with three types of game: hare, rabbit and venison (which is so weird because I though hare was pretty much like rabbit but I guess it’s just a bigger, meaner rabbit). He's making a ragout (recipe here). He’s sautéing finely chopped red onions in a pan, and then he slices up some carrots into chops and then slices up something call a swede, which I never heard of. So I go to the Food Network Web site to check out what swede is, but they already Americanized his recipe by calling for rutabaga instead. So I guess swede are like rutabaga, but Wikipedia says it’s also like a yellow turnip. It looks like a potato. Jamie adds all this to the onion and mixes them all up, then adds the game meat.

He adds half a bottle of an Italian white wine, and then herbs: thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, chopped up fine (except the bay), and then adds it all to the pan along with a pinch of salt and pepper and a tablespoon of flour. He adds a pint of chicken stock to just cover up the meat, then brings it to just a boil with the lid and simmer for about an hour and 15 minutes.

In a pot of boiling water, he throws in some pappardelle. I love pappardelle but I can never find them in my local Safeway.

To his meat that’s been slowly cooked, he adds a nice nub of butter, then with the pot off the heat he throws in a handful of parmesan cheese and the zest from half an orange. He mixes it altogether and then he grabs a handful of parsley and he finely chops them. He gets the pasta and pours away the water so he can use the pot. Then he pours pasta back in and throws in a few spoonfuls of his ragout sauce. He says you have to be quick, stirring everything together. Hmm, I think I might make this one Sunday, if I can find rabbit and hare. Jamie finishes it all with a sprinkle of parlsey and olive oil and then a bit of parmesan. He says you have to eat this quick. No problem, Jamie.

Jamieisms heard in this episode:

Happy days

Nub, as in “nub of butter.”

Rock and roll

Jamie At Home airs on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on the Food Network. Visit Jamie’s Web site at More on the accompanying book for the series here.


Anonymous said...

The rabbit does sound good never had it before but I am interested in the Garlic he cooked it then threw it in the breadcrumbs and fried it also. It was a whole head also I wonder if he really eats the garlic head whole or not but I would love to make just the garlic part of it. I am searching all over for recipes and seeing if people do it whole or jut by the cloves. I just wonder about the papery skin I guess you could eat it.

Single Guy Ben said...

I thought he threw in the whole garlic just to infuse the flour. But I guess you could fry it up and then the paper skin would just crisp up. I bet you could have fried garlic, but no one would want to sit next to you! :)

Unknown said...

Well I like Garlic a lot and so does my mom she eats it raw every night. So I will just make it with her. 2 Garlics cancel each other out. Lol

Ishrath said...

This is one good descriptive post, in case we missed the episode. I watched it but was great to read it in B&W on ur blog. Indeed JAH is a good show.