Feathered and Furred

Do you understand the notion of not having experience with something and then, almost suddenly you come into continued contact or conversation with it?  Well, a few weeks ago I was grocery shopping and came across local farm raised rabbit in the freezer section. Now, I have never tried rabbit before but I’ve heard it is good and the Italians and French enjoy it so it must be…la verità, no!

A week later I was enjoying a pint with friends and our conversation began to revolve around curiosities and food.  I shared my discovery of the local raised rabbit for sale and it was decided that rabbit is something we ought to try. Someone came up with the suggestion of hosting a rabbit dinner party…which we will have to get a hop on!

This week I was attending a birthday party and the topic of meat was the spotlight of our conversation.  My friend’s husband was telling us that he grew up on a rabbit farm and really enjoyed rabbit meat!  There it was three instances of rabbit in about three weeks….now I have to try it!  So, stay tuned because I will be cooking rabbit in one way or another this fall.  I’ll let you know how it turns out good or bad!

With rabbit on the mind I was reminded of another recipe which I have always, always, always wanted to attempt- Quail in Rose Petal Sauce.  To me this sounds exquisite, intoxicating, and delicate.  I was introduced to the recipe in the book “Como Agua Para Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel which was later made into a movie.  The following clip depicts the scene in which the main character Tita serves her Quail in Rose Petal Sauce:

Perhaps, I’ll try this when I  come across some local quail or organic pesticide free roses!   I have found some adaptations in which chicken is substituted for quail.  I believe a nice a Cornish hen would do as well, but for now here is the original recipe from Laura Esquivel’s book:

QUAIL IN ROSE PETAL SAUCE
12 roses, preferably red
12 chestnuts
2 tsp. butter
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 drops attar of roses (rose oil)
2 Tbsp. anise
2 Tbsp. honey
2 cloves garlic
6 quail
1 pitaya

Brown the quail in butter and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the petals carefully from the roses. Ground the petals with the anise in a mortar. Separately, brown the chestnuts in a pan, remove the peels and cook them in water. Then puree them. Mince the garlic and brown slightly in butter; when it is transparent, add it to the chestnut puree along with the honey, the ground pitaya and the rose petals, and salt to taste.

To thicken the sauce slightly, you may add two Tablespoons of cornstarch.

Last, strain through a fine sieve and add no more than 2 drops of attar of roses. As soon as the seasonings have been added, remove the sauce from heat. The quail should be immersed in this sauce for 10 minutes to infuse them with the flavor, and then removed.

The quail are placed on a platter, the sauce is poured over them and they are garnished with a single perfect rose in the center and rose petals scattered all around.

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