Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Duck Fat Potato Galette with Rabbit Gravy in the Style of Poutine - Jan 29, 2012

The French-Canadian dish, Poutine, is a favorite here at Chez Jess & Nick. Just in case you're not familiar, please let me describe it in gooey detail: French fried potatoes piled on a plate, topped with fresh cheese curds. And gravy. In my opinion, it's the perfect dish to eat sitting in front of a roaring fire with a bottle of rich red wine or Belgian style quadrupel after spending a day outside participating in some rigorous winter snow sport. It's hearty fare, to be sure, and I wanted to try to make something like it at home.

For those of you with a subscription to Bon Appetit, you may remember their December 2011 spread on 'Hot Potatoes.' I've had it mentally bookmarked for the past few months, waiting for an opportunity to make the Duck Fat-Potato Galette with Caraway and Sweet Onions. This recipe was the impetus to purchase that rendered duck fat I've been waxing poetic about.

After my rabbit escapade left me with a nice carcass, a plan started to take shape. Nick's dad uses his turkey bones, left over from his annual Thanksgiving de-boning, to make some pretty incredible gravy. I began to wonder if I could do something similar with my bunny bones. A quick phone call was made to Chip, where he described to me his gravy process, and sounded intrigued at the prospect of trying it with rabbit.  "Be sure to take pictures," he said.  "Of course," I replied.

I went to work, following some hastily scribbled notes I'd made while chatting with Chip. It turns out that making gravy, a la Chip, is not a quick process. In fact, Chip says he likes to spread it out over two days, making the stock one day and then the gravy the next. That's a good idea, and next time I will plan ahead, but, as Nick and I wanted poutine later that night, I compressed the process a bit.

First I placed my rabbit carcass in my little Dutch oven with a quartered onion. This went in a 425 deg oven for about an hour and 15 minutes until everything was nice and brown. It could have probably gone a little longer, but I'm not always a patient person. I pulled the Dutch oven out and placed it on the stove top, adding enough water to just cover the bones, along with salt and pepper. This needs to simmer for one to two hours, until it turns a rich, opaque brown. At this point, I strained out the solids and was left with my rabbit stock.

Next I made a roux, which for future reference is equal parts butter and flour. I used two tbsp of each (which was a good amount to make gravy for two), melting the butter in a heavy sauce pot and adding the flour in, whisking over medium heat until it was a nice golden color. Again, I could have probably gone a bit longer for a richer color, but I was getting hungry. Now that the roux was ready, I began adding my rabbit stock to it, a little at a time, which is a tip from Chip, and a good way to control the viscosity of your gravy. I kept adding stock and whisking all the while until the gravy was the consistency that I liked. I'm no gravy expert, but I think it turned out quite well. It was light but flavorful, kind of like rabbit itself.

While I was making the gravy, I also put together the potato galette, which, as you may have guessed by now, would stand in for French fries in our homemade version of poutine. I halved the recipe for just the two of us. It turned out beautifully and the caraway is a nice touch that brought some interest to our plate of starch.

After I pulled the galette out of the oven, we topped it with coarsely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, which stood in for the cheese curds.  Unfortunately, good cheese curds are much harder to come by here in Minnesota than they are in Wisconsin. This is, apparently, a common substitution to poutine, even in Canada. Regardless, it worked for our purposes. On top of the cheese, we poured our gravy. Between the heat from the potatoes and the gravy, the cheese melted slowly into the dish, which made for a good poutine texture.

This was meal was no small undertaking, but a fun kitchen adventure and well worth the effort.  I am happy that I can now make gravy from scratch, a valuable life skill, no doubt, thanks to Chip's instructions.  And, I am happy that this admittedly nutty plan of mine produced this delicious meal.
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1 comment:

Jaime said...

That looks amazing!


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