Manfrigole (Buckwheat Pancakes Filled With Casera Cheese)

Manfrigole are comfort food from Valtellina, a valley in the North of Italy near Switzerland. I encountered them for the first time during the wine trip to Lombardia last fall, where we enjoyed them for both lunch and dinner. Manfrigole … Continue reading Manfrigole (Buckwheat Pancakes Filled With Casera Cheese)

Rabbit Loin Saltimbocca (Saltimbocca di Coniglio)

Cuts of meat that come from different muscle groups in an animal require different cooking to make them shine. For instance, a ribeye steak is best served medium rare after a quick sear and some resting, whereas a brisket needs to be cooked low and slow to become tender and delicious to eat. Smaller animals like chickens and rabbits are often cooked whole, disregarding the wisdom gained from preparing beef in separate parts. Part of the reason for this may be that a chicken fits easier into most pans and ovens than a whole cow does 😉 A more economical reason is that if you judge by effort per pound of meat, a relatively big effort is needed to separate the different muscle groups of a small animal. Even so, it is worth doing so to get the best results. This is also true for rabbit. Rabbit loins are the ‘rib eye’ of the rabbit, they are very tender and require very little cooking. The legs and other parts however need to be braised or stewed. Even so, rabbit is often cooked whole with the loin dried out.

I thought this to be a waste of a very nice piece of meat, and so when I bought a whole rabbit I decided to do my own butchering and divide the rabbit into loins, legs, flap meat, and carcass. (Of course you can also ask your butcher to do this for you.) The latter three parts will be used for tomorrow’s recipe. The tenderloins are so small in a 1.1 kg (2.5 lbs) rabbit that they are hardly worth getting out. The loins themselves were about 160 grams together or about 14% of the weight of the rabbit.

On the same day I had bought the rabbit, I had also bought some very nice prosciutto. As I still have fresh sage growing in my garden, I decided to turn those rabbit loins into rabbit saltimboccaSaltimbocca is a famous dish from Rome consisting of veal scaloppine with prosciutto and sage. It is so delicious that it is called “jump into mouth” (salt = jump, bocca = mouth). I prefer to have a rabbit jumping in the direction of my mouth rather than a calf 😉 But seriously, this rabbit saltimbocca was absolutely delicious. The meat is super tender and succulent, and pairs very well with the prosciutto and sage. Compared to the veal version, it is a bit lighter and softer in style.

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Chicken Ravioli with Sage

I’ve never seen ravioli with a chicken filling before, but I couldn’t think of any reason why it wouldn’t be nice so I decided to give it a try. I used a good quality free-range chicken with a lot of flavor, cooked the legs sous-vide for the filling and used the rest to make a chicken demi-glace (reduced stock) for the sauce. You could also just braise the chicken legs instead, so it is not needed to own a sous-vide cooker to be able to give this a try. The chicken ravioli turned out just like the name suggests, with a good chicken flavor. The concentrated flavor of the sauce helped to get this effect. If you like chicken, you’ll love these ravioli. Here’s what I did… Continue reading “Chicken Ravioli with Sage”

Pork shoulder sous-vide

I’ve made pork shoulder sous-vide before, and that was pretty good in a tender medium-rare style (cooked at 55C/131F for 48 hours). This time I wanted a “braised” texture, and so tried 36 hours at 65C/149F as advised in Modernist Cuisine. It came out very nice: juicy and so tender you could eat it with a fork. Here’s what I did. I used a piece of boneless pork shoulder with some nice marbling. The meat will turn out dry if you use very lean meat in this preparation. First I made a rub of some fresh sage leaves, salt and … Continue reading Pork shoulder sous-vide

Saltimbocca alla Romana (Veal scaloppine with prosciutto and sage)

Saltimbocca literally means “jump in the mouth” because it’s so delicious. Fortunately, it’s just as easy to make them as they are delicious. There are many variations of saltimbocca, some even substitute veal for chicken or pork, but the constant factor is the mouth-watering combination of tender veal scaloppine with prosciutto di Parma and fresh sage. Some use butter, some use olive oil. Some use flour to dust before cooking, others don’t. Some cook the prosciutto side first, some the veal side. Some put the sage on the outside, others on the inside. Some use veal or chicken stock for … Continue reading Saltimbocca alla Romana (Veal scaloppine with prosciutto and sage)