Sunday, March 9, 2008

Jamie Wins By A Hare

Jamie at Home with Jamie Oliver

Game Ragu with Pappardelle
Pan-Roasted Venison with Creamy Baked Potato and Celeriac

I have to admit I was a bit nervous when I saw that Jamie was making a rabbit dish yesterday. I even asked H if he thought we’d see (well, if I would see, he only glances at Giada occasionally) Jamie off a rabbit. He said he imagined the Food Network wouldn’t show that and certainly not at 9:30 in the morning. Thankfully, he was right. But I was worried during the entire episode that Jamie would go into Rambo mode, especially when he was chatting with a game ranger and they were talking about culling deer.

The rabbit is all cut up when the show starts. He has it in an old-looking pot. Jamie certainly isn’t selling cookware in this series. He throws in 2 garlic heads halved on the Equator (not the International dateline). He adds 3 sprigs of rosemary, a wineglass of white wine (let’s say 4 oz.), lots of salt and pepper and a dash of olive oil. He wants no browning. He brings it to the boil and then simmers it very gently on top of the stove for 1 1/4 to 1½ hours until the meat begins to come off the bone. He reminds us he wants no color.

After the rabbit is cooked, he dredges the (cooked) pieces in tons of flour. Oh, apparently he’s going to fry them up. Then they go into eggs. (Remember the mantra – Flour, Egg and Crumb; Flour, Egg and Crumb.)

When you’re coating stuff before frying, be sure to add water to the egg, about a tablespoon per egg. It helps to de-glopify it. And you can make your life a lot easier by not stinting on the eggs. If you can barely get by with 2, use 3. It’s so much easier to coat something when you’re not dragging it across the bottom of the dish.

He tells us to get the eggs ALL AROUND the meat or the crumbs won’t stick. The rabbit goes into a big plate of crumbs. He sprinkles some coarsely chopped (or just ripped up perhaps) thyme leaves into the crumbs and grates a thick layer of Parmesan over. Then he turns the pieces in the crumb and cheese mixture. He says to do a thick coating first and then go back and really pat the crumbs on. Actually that’s sort of like icing a cake. First you do a superthin “crumb” layer, just to hold the crumbs in place, and then you blanket it on in a thick layer.

He deeps fried the prepared pieces in hot oil. The temperature is right, he says, when a peeled potato goes in and turns golden. You could just use a thermometer and heat the oil to 350°F.

He folds a kitchen towel (in the U.S,. a dishtowel) onto a dish and covers it with folded kitchen paper, i.e. a paper towel. Before the rabbit is done, he adds a rosemary sprig to the oil and deep fries it for garnish. (If you’ve never deep fried whole herbs, try it. Parsley is gorgeous and sage leaves, divine.)

”Mr. Sea Salt” seasons it up and the rabbit goes in a pile on the prepared dish. “Life couldn’t be much sweeter,” ruminates Jamie as he squeezes fresh lemon on top.

Actually, there’s a cute commercial for Danny AND The Neely’s. They catch him eating all THEIR ribs. “Uh-Oh. Wrong set.” As he rushes off. Maybe we’ll be lucky and he won’t find his…

Okay, here’s the game guy with Jamie chatting about murdering deer. Then, thankfully, he’s slicing a celeriac and nothing else. He slices it in quarters and then in slices. He slices up potatoes. He likes a 50-50 mixture of potatoes with whatever: parsnips, fennel or anything you like. He chops up garlic and adds it with Parmesan and “herbage”, in this case sage. He adds a ½ pint cream and ½ pint milk and mixes it all well together. Jamie layers it up in a baking dish, making sure that the last layer is nicely arranged potatoes. He gets all the liquid from the bowl onto the vegetables. He grates plenty of cheese on top and wraps “the little tiger up” with foil and bakes it at 350 for 30 minutes.

To coat a loin of venison, Jamie crushes 10 juniper berries on a board, barely containing himself from grabbing for a bit of lemon and tonic water. He adds in salt and pepper, and says that rosemary is “very good friends with beef AND Mr. Venison. He chops up the rosemary and adds it to seasoning and juniper mix.

He rubs the venison with oil and rolls it in the rosemary mixture, making a crust on the outside. He preheats his pan and tells us we can cook it in the oven or on top of the hob. Jamie sears the meat and adds some extra rosemary and garlic to the pan with a splash of water or stock. It will cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. He does say his wife likes it slightly more well-done than he does, and the recipe says 8 minutes.

Jamie takes out the potatoes and lifts off the foil which prevented it from overbrowning. He add lots of cheese to the top and returns the dish to the oven to crisp up for 5 minutes. The recipe says 10 to 15 minutes. I’d probably go with 10ish minutes.

He takes out the venison and turns it over in the juices. He squeezes the flesh out of the garlic cloves. He says to give one glass of decent red wine to your meal in the pan. “I think it deserves it.” He also adds one big pat of butter and lets it melt into the sauce.

He slices venison into centimeter thick pieces (I know how thick that is). It has “a blush” in the middle, “just the way (his) missus likes it.” He spoons out the potatoes onto the serving platter. He puts the pan juices through a strainer and pours them over the venison. He says to serve the meal with a nice bottle of Italian Chianti.

Jamie starts a ragu sauce with 1 chopped red onion that he sautés in a pan. He adds 1 rabbit, 1 hare and 600 g of venison, all boned and diced. (Eww, I don’t like how that sounded). He tells us not brown the onion, he wants a light and delicate sauce. He adds chopped carrots and then chopped swedes (rutabagas). He throws in some chopped herbs, lots of salt and pepper and 2 bay leaves. Then Jamie stirs in a little spoonful of flour and then stirs in 1 pint of chicken (or vegetable) stock. Oh, and wine went there at some point. (Any time I add flour, I like to cook the mixture on low for 2 to 3 minutes.) He brings the pot to the boil and barely simmers it “nice and slowly, let it just sort of blip away” for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

He’s left with a beautiful rich looking game ragu.

Into boiling salted water, he adds pappardelle fro 4 minutes. He stirs in a “nice” knob of butter into the ragu with some Parmesan cheese and ONE THIRD of an orange, zested – no more and no less. He puts the lid for a sec. He chops parsley finely and sets it aside. Ok, quick now. He drain the pasta, NOT saving any of the cooking water this time. He puts the pasta back in its big cooking pot and adds a nice ladle of ragu (not enough in my opinion), stirs it quickly, plates it and finishes it…QUICKLY…with the parsley, olive oil and more Parmesan. Eat it quickly, you gotta eat it quickly.

Well, Jamie does it again. He invites us into his natural world and makes cooking in a shed look like an adventure that we'd all like to join him in.


Emiline said...

I haven't eat much game in my life, but I'm tempted to with that delicious sounding ragu.

Did he just serve the fried rabbit just like that? I wonder why he cooked it twice. I'm going to have to read that again.

When you make an egg wash, does it make a differnce if you use water or milk?

Sue said...

Hi Em,
He served the fried rabbit just the way you'd serve a plate of fried chicken.

I was talking about dipping stuff in egg after the flour and before the crumbs when frying, not really an egg wash. However you've asked a very interesting question.

An egg wash typically goes on top of a pastry before it's baked. "They" say mixing an egg with WATER (1 tbl. to 1 egg) will give you a better shine; MILK (1 tbl.) will brown the crust better.

The basic rule is that for a savory dish, you glaze it with an egg and water wash; a sweet pastry you would use an egg and milk glaze. (Ina uses cream in her egg wash...of course). Honestly, I don't think it matters that much. You're always safe adding water.