EATING RIGHT FOR THE NEW YEAR
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.
LITTLE CITY MARKET
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.
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