At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


This year is the year of the rabbit, according to the Chinese calendar. And though the new year is not even 24 hours old, I'm already reverting to my usual self. This has nothing to do with any intemperate new year's resolutions, nor with an absence of spring festival cheer, but rather with culinary appropriateness.

What would really make me happy this Chinese New Year would be stewed rabbit.


One plump rabbit, cut into eight or twelve pieces.
Eight or twelve black mushrooms.
Plenty ginger and a little garlic.
Two cups stock.
Half cup sherry or rice wine.
Two TBS soy sauce.
One TBS sugar.
Pinch of five spice powder.
Dash of vinegar.
Dash of hot sauce.
Flour, black pepper, sesame oil, scallions or cilantro.

Soak the black mushrooms, remove the stems. Reserve the soaking water.
Roll the rabbit pieces in peppered flour, shake off excess, and fry in the skillet till lightly browned. Set aside.
Wipe the skillet, and gild the ginger and garlic. Add the black mushrooms, sauté briefly, add the rabbit pieces, stock, sherry, soy sauce, five spice powder, and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Simmer for an hour and half. The liquids should have reduced to a nice semi-glaze at this point. Adjust the taste with the dashes of vinegar and hot sauce, add a teaspoon of sesame oil, and cook a few minutes longer to incorporate the flavours.

Garnish with chopped scallion or cilantro.

Line the serving plate with fresh lettuce and thick slices of tomato - both because round red things are appropriate during Chinese New Year, and tomato goes really well with this kind of sauce.
Lettuce, of course, is always perfect - the name sounds like 'thriving business' in Cantonese.

Some people recommend Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay with rabbit, however I think a Petite Syrah or a Pinot Noir is better. But it's your choice.

Warm peasant bread is perfect for sopping up the juices.

NOTE: It is best to purchase rabbit from a reliable butcher, or raise it for the table yourself. Wild rabbit needs to be vinegar-brined before it is suitable for the pot, and is usually best roasted.
Little City on Stockton at Vallejo has very nice rabbits.

1400 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94133.

In addition to rabbit, they also have many excellent sausages.
Mmmmmmmmm, fennel, garlic, spices, pork fat........
And lovely chops of various types.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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  • At 4:30 PM, Anonymous gustatorially amphibious said…

    Love Little City.

  • At 7:35 PM, Blogger Tzipporah said…

    ok, I've found turkey a good kosher substitute for pork, but what works for rabbit?

  • At 9:13 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    "I've found turkey a good kosher substitute for pork, but what works for rabbit?"

    That, at least, is the accumulated wisdom of generations of restaurateurs in Northern Europe. It explains why the town where I grew up has NO feral cats. None.

    Turkey would probably work better as a substitute for rabbit than it does for pork, but only the dark meat. Either that or an energetic free-range chicken - again, the dark meat. Many rabbit recipes are suitable for chicken. And kosher chicken at Trader Joe's has more goodness than supermarket battery chicken, so go for it.

  • At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rabbit ears in Kensington has nice rabbits. They carry love rabbits, not meat rabbits

    RabbitEARS Adoption Store
    7523 Fairmount Avenue
    El Cerrito CA 94530
    Phone 510-356-4233

    Dare to care for a hare?

  • At 9:20 PM, Blogger Tzipporah said…

    Is the "energetic, free range" part because rabbits are a bit stringy? Never having had (or planning to have) rabbit, I'm trying to figure out how it compares to something I might have actually eaten.

  • At 1:05 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Meaty, not stringy. The flesh has a bounciness. Hence the comparison with Rocky the Range Chicken.

    And it should be remembered that scrag-hen is considerably more flavoursome than battery-Betty.

  • At 1:14 PM, Blogger Tzipporah said…

    Yeah, we only buy free-range when we do meat (which usu means not kosher). Wish I could get both, but I'd prob have to learn to shecht it myself for that.


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