It probably goes without saying that I was pretty tired of cooking, so after ordering pizza for Friday night it was a great treat to join a whole bunch of friends at Swami Bruce’s place for a giant meal prepared by Lillian, an editor at Gourmet. She threw down some serious fried chicken with a million delicious sides (among which, roasted cauliflower, braised cabbage, chip-addictive romaine salad) and we made it all disappear. What a pleasure it was to be cooked for for a change. So come Sunday, I had regained a little energy and we made a couple of good meals while outside we got our first dusting of snow. Which soon enough turned to rain, sparing me from having to go cover the garden.
For lunch, since we had not shopped since the middle of last week, I busted out some uncharacteristically unflavored fettucine with the help of my now-useful kitchen sidekick, Milo. He’s a champ with the hand-crank, and made it almost all the way through the flat-rolling and the noodle-cutting before he got tired. He’s so excited to help cook whenever he can now, and has the motor and listening skills to do it properly. When I put the water on to boil, I also put a pint of our home grown-and-canned tomato sauce to simmer with the last glug of Thanksgiving’s heavy cream. Think cream of tomato soup, but reduced to a sweet thickness that causes one to require a change of undies, topped with a healthy bump of black pepper and truffle-oil lube.
For dinner, I defrosted a rabbit, broke it down, browned the bits, caramelized mirepoix, deglazed with wine, and set to simmer very low for three hours with fennel, carrots, parsnips, herbs, and quartered dried figs. And that’s what we ate, over reheated brown rice, with a side of kale and Brussels sprout leaves braised with leeks and a little lemon juice.
It was good, but not great; I was still seriously kitchened out and did not give this the extra seasonings and attention that would have elevated and unified the flavors to something special. But it did the job, and furnished us with ample leftovers for tonight. I’m always looking for ways to combine as many of the strays and orphans in the fridge as possible into one of these remnants-themed dinners, so tonight the rabbit stew became the foundation for the meal, along with meat pulled from bones and chopped (I was surprised and delighted to find the offal still there) plus a duck fat roux, fresh turnip, parsnip, and carrot, white wine, some roasted roots and garlic from last week and enough water to get the consistency right. I added some of our frozen peas to the mixture just before capping it with a slump of Grandma Trude’s best-in-the-world pie crust.
While last night was a little lean and discombobulated flavor-wise, tonight’s remix was fully combobulated. Like, it had massive, thunderous sawtooth sub-bass and a totally addicitve dubstep hook that wouldn’t let us go. Freakin’ fantastic. Stews shold never be eaten on the first day if at all possible. And adding garlic-heavy roasted roots to a stew? Unbelievable. Still another Bret Bros. Pouilly Fuissé (I have GOT to buy some more white before I polish these off) was a brilliant match on every level.