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Spalla tal-Fenek Stuffat

Braised Rabbit Shoulder

Joseph Brincat
Ta’ Frenċ

Ingredients

RABBIT SHOULDERS

2 rabbit shoulders
2 medium onions
5 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
4 tbsp tomato paste
150ml red wine
Salt and pepper
Water as needed

BLACK GARLIC EMULSION

120g black garlic cloves
250g water
250g cream
Salt and pepper

SPICED TAMARIND & RABBIT GLAZE

1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp ras el hanout
1 bay leaf
250g fresh sweet tamarind
Peel of half an orange
50ml Cointreau
Juices from rabbit pan
200ml rabbit stock

ANCHOVY MAYONNAISE

50g pasteurized egg yolks
1 tsp English mustard
450-500g vegetable oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of white pepper
40g anchovy fillets, finely chopped

GOLDEN RAISINS & PECANS

100g pecans
50g golden raisins

Method

RABBIT SHOULDERS – Peel and thinly slice the onions and the garlic. Place a medium sized pan on medium high heat and add a little vegetable oil. Season well the rabbit shoulders with salt and pepper and carefully place in the pan. The pan should not be very hot since it can burn the rabbit meat very easily. Fry the rabbit shoulders until they become golden brown on both sides. Remove and place on a clean small tray. In the same pan, cook the onions and garlic until golden. Add the bay leaf and tomato paste and cook for 30-40 seconds and add the wine. Place the rabbit shoulder back in the pan and allow everything to reduce together, for 1-2 mins. When the wine is reduced, place everything in a small oven proof dish and add enough water to cover the rabbit shoulder. Cover with baking paper and on top of that, place two pieces of aluminium foil over the dish to cover it well. Place in a preheated, 160°C, oven and slowly cook for 2-2.5 hours until the meat is very soft to the touch. Occasionally check if the shoulders require any more water so that they don’t dry up. Once cooked, move the rabbit shoulders to a clean tray and reserve the cooking juices. Once the rabbit shoulders can be handled, remove the upper bone by slowly grabbing it from the end and twisting it gently until it pops out. This is a delicate step however it will help ease the eating process of the final dish. Cover the rabbit shoulders with a plastic wrap, and place in a fridge to firm up.

SPICED TAMARIND AND RABBIT GLAZE – Peel and thinly slice the onions and the garlic. With a speed peeler, peel the rind of half an orange. Remove the outer husk of the tamarind, remove the flesh from the seeds and reserve. Discard both the husk and seeds. When all the preparation is done, place a medium sized pot on a medium high heat and add a little vegetable oil. Place the sliced onions, garlic, orange peel and bay leaf and cook them without giving any colour for 4-5 mins. When everything is softened, add the ras el hanout and cook for about a minute for it to develop the flavour of the spice and carefully add the Cointreau. Carefully flame the Cointreau and when the alcohol is cooked out, add the reserved cooking rabbit shoulder juices and the rabbit stock. Allow everything to reduce together until the liquid is thick but still in a pouring consistency. Pass everything from a very fine sieve and place the liquid into a small pot. Allow further reduction to happen until the liquid has a thick glazing consistency. Do not over reduce it since it can easily burn and make the glaze go bitter. Reserve until needed.

BLACK GARLIC EMULSION – Peel and thinly slice the garlic and place in a medium sized pot. Add a pinch of salt and pepper along with the water and cream and cook on medium high heat. Once everything comes to a boil reduce the heat to low and gently reduce the cream by half while stirring occasionally making sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. In order to have a nice piping consistency there needs to be a good ratio of garlic to liquid so that the blender can blend everything into a smooth puree. Allow for everything to cool for 3-4 mins and place it in a food blender. Blend everything until it forms a smooth puree for 2-3 mins. Once blended, pass the puree from a very fine sieve and place in a small piping bag with a small plain piping tube. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

GOLDEN RAISINS AND PECANS – Place the pecans on an oven proof tray and roast them in a preheated, 180°C, oven for 5-6 mins, until they have a nice light brown colour. Allow to cool. In the meantime, finely slice the golden raisins into very small pieces. This is very important. Since the golden raisins are in this dish to bring a little sweetness and tanginess, they need to be small so they won’t overpower the rabbit flavour. Once the pecans are cold, gently crush them into small pieces, making sure not to crush too hard so they don’t turn into a powder. This can be easily done by gently using the palm of your hand. Blend both the pecans and golden raisins together. Place in an airtight container and reserve for when needed.

ANCHOVY MAYONNAISE – Place the pasteurized egg yolks into a food processor together with the mustard and put it on a medium speed. Pour the oil little by little in a slow gentle stream. If the oil is not poured little by little the mix will split. By adding the oil slowly, you will start to notice that the mix will gradually become thicker and thicker forming the mayonnaise. When all the oil is poured and incorporated, add the vinegar, lemon juice and white pepper and blend everything on high speed for 10 seconds, ensuring everything is mixed well. Place the mayonnaise into a clean bowl and add the chopped anchovy fillets. Mix well so everything is incorporated nicely.

ASSEMBLING EVERYTHING TOGETHER – Placed the rabbit shoulders on a small oven proof tray and lightly coat them with the glaze. Put a little bit of water at the bottom of the tray to eliminate the risk of the glaze burning when touching the bottom and the rabbit shoulder from sticking to the tray. Cover with aluminium foil, making sure the foil doesn’t touch so the glaze won’t stick with it. Place in a preheated, 180°C, oven for 15-20 mins, until the glaze is thick enough to stick with the rabbit and the rabbit is heated all the way through. If the shoulders are basted every 5 mins, the end result will be much better. While the rabbit is heating, place a little bit of glaze in a small pot and put on a medium heat so that it warms through and starts to slowly thicken. This glaze is going to be used to give the rabbit shoulder one last coat before the final process. This will make it extra rich and nice. When the rabbit shoulder is heated, remove the foil, coat the entire rabbit shoulder with the nice thick rabbit and tamarind glaze and scatter the pecan and golden raisin mix on top. The rabbit shoulder can now be placed on a plate. In between the crevasses of the natural rabbit shoulder curves, pipe some black garlic emulsion just enough to complement the rabbit shoulder and place half a tablespoon of mayonnaise on the plate. The plate is now complete and ready to be enjoyed.