February 19th, 2008
Two weekends ago we purchased a coney (better known to most of you as a wild rabbit) at the Edinburgh farmer’s market. It’s been cooling its heels in our freezer since then, until this evening.
We defrosted the poor, unfortunate creature and found a delightfully simple recipe in my Jane Grigson cookbook (I’ve always referred to her as ‘Plain Jane’, but this is an affectionate moniker as her simplistic recipes are some of the best at my disposal). Bugs was boiled in water with some herbs and onions. After a bit, we took the onions out of the water and fried them up in good Welsh butter and a small amount of really thick double cream. Hardened arteries notwithstanding, this was fabulous and so simple I could hardly credit it. We even have leftover rabbit stock which will be the basis of tomorrow night’s soup.
For the curious, we served Peter with mixed leafy vegetables (spinach, bok choy and others), mash (white and red potatoes mixed with celeriac) and a Spanish Tinto. A further word should be said as well about those red potatoes. These are not the rusty-colored spuds which fade to dull terracotta and pass for ‘red’ back in the U.S. These reds are a brilliant garnet color through to the core. When we purchased them I felt sure they must be sweet potatoes. Our mixed mash looked as if we had added in beets!
Unfortunately, the American taste for game isn’t all that it could be, and you don’t really see a lot of wild meat at the market. You really begin to appreciate the shame of this when you spend some time at a market that really understands good wild food. Not all the ‘game’ at the market is truly wild â€” just as not all ‘wild’ mushrooms are grown in the wild â€” but it definitely takes our taste buds in some new and interesting directions.