Livestock may be cute animals, but they make tasty meat dishes if cooked properly.
This is 'slow food' - hand raised, cooked from scratch, and meant to be enjoyed with good conversation. Don't rush these recipes!
Shari's Florentine Eggs
Serves 3-5 (I double for my current household of 7)
1/2 stick butter - 1/4 cup
1 medium onion; diced
3 tomatoes; diced
4 cups fresh spinach leaves; chopped (or 2 cups frozen, defrosted)
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
In a medium to large skillet, melt butter. Add onions and saute until slightly brown.
Add tomatoes and simmer until most of juice evaporates.
Add spinach and cover; simmer until spinach is wilted; stir thoroughly.
Add sour cream and stir thoroughly; heat through.
Crack eggs, dropping one at a time into vegetable sauce.
Season with salt and pepper on top. Simmer 8-10 minutes with lid
slightly cocked until egg yolks are the firmness you like.
Serve with a slotted spoon, covering eggs with any excess vegetable sauce.
Shari McMinn's Best Rabbit Recipe
Serves 6-8 (for people who love meat, I cook 2 rabbits to serve 8-10)
1 Rabbit– defrosted if previously frozen
salt and pepper
1/3-1/2cup cooking oil - I prefer canola
1 spice of your choice (fresh or dried):sage, rosemary, mint, garlic, that goes w/ white meat
½ cup cooking wine – sherry or marsala are my favorites; or apple juice if you prefer
1 cup cream or half/half; milk works too, though not as rich
1. Cut up the rabbit into 8 pieces, much as you would a chicken; you will have 2 smaller front legs (like wings); 2 large back legs (like a thigh/leg combination); if the chest ribs are connected at the breast, split them apart so the body can be spread out flat.
2. Split the body into two equal halves – top and bottom; the upper portion called the saddle (less meaty but very good) that you split down the backbone; and a lower body (like a loin) that you split down the backbone.
3. Lay these pieces out and salt and pepper the top side. Group the front legs with the saddle pieces, and the back legs with the loin pieces so they are similar in size for the next step.
4. In a large skillet, pour the oil to cover the bottom of the skillet; heat on medium hi; when hot, put 4 pieces of equal size, salt and pepper side down, and brown for a few minutes; 5. Salt and pepper the top side, then turn over to brown that second side.
6. When browned on both sides, remove from skillet, placing in a greased/oiled 9x13 baking pan – metal or glass. Brown the remaining pieces, then add to baking pan.
7. After the rabbit pieces are removed from the skillet, turn the burner down to medium, and add the wine; it will sizzle!
8. Stir in the herbs, and let the alcohol 'cook out' about 5 minutes.
9. Add the cream and heat thoroughly, just until it starts to bubble.
10. Remove from heat and pour this sauce over the rabbit pieces.
11. Cover the baking pan with foil, tightly. Bake for 2-3 hours at 350 degrees; the longer the time, the more tender the rabbit.
12. Remove pan from oven and let set 5-10 minutes. Place rabbit pieces on a serving platter, and pour sauce/pan drippings on top. Serve and enjoy!
Shari McMinn's Best Roast Duck Recipe
Serves 4-6 (for folks who love meat, and our larger family, I cook two at once to serve 6-10)
1 thawed Mallard, Pekin, or Rouen Duck - approx. 3-4#, with skin on
1 medium orange
1/4 cup fresh rosemary (or 2-3 stems)
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 450 F; make sure the oven rack is in the lowest or next to lowest position, like when you roast a turkey - to make room for the bird's height in the pan
1. Start with a two part roasting pan (the kind with the separate rack on top - sometimes called a broiler pan), spray the top rack with olive or canola oil
2. Lay the duck breast side up; with a sharp paring knife, slash holes all over the top of the duck carcass - maybe an inch or two apart; this will allow the duck fat to drain out during baking, and make the skin crispy
3. Using your fingers, slide them down the rosemary stems to remove the herbal leaves; sprinkle half of them onto the duck; press them down onto the skin, patting with your fingers
4. Flip the duck over so the breast side is down; repeat the piercing and applying the rosemary
5. Cut the orange into quarters; open the cavity between the legs and insert the oranges
6. Put the roasting pan and duck into the oven, breast side down still, uncovered; set timer for 20 minutes
7. Remove from oven when timer goes off; using tongs, flip the bird so the breast side is up; roast 20 more minutes at the high temperature; this is making the skin crispy
8. When the timer goes off, remove the pan from the oven; cover the pan and bird with a large sheet of foil (I prefer heavy-duty because it can be washed and reused) sealing the foil around the edges of the pan so as to capture the heat/steam inside the foil; this keeps the bird from drying out. The breast should still be up; next you will slow cook the duck at a lower temperature to make the meat very tender, and the duck easy to cut-up.
9. Turn the oven down to 325 F; put the foil sealed pan/bird back into the oven and set the timer for 3 hours. We are at 4500 ft altitude which is considered 'high'. If you are at lower, you may only need to roast for 2 to 2.5 hours. You are trying to achieve a very tender bird.
10. Remove from oven, loosen foil, and let sit for 15 minutes.
11. *Cut duck into pieces similar to a chicken; the most meat will be on the legs and breast, but there is some on all parts. It should be very tender.
12. Serve while warm; you can reheat in the microwave or oven if needed.
13. Some like to serve with a sweet sauce such as thinned-down orange marmalade or honey; we like it plain.
*Before you start to cut, lift the leg - if it starts to separate, it is done; if it resists, you should reseal the duck on the pan, and cook for at least another 30 minutes. It will be worth the wait for tender duck. You might have to try this recipe a few times before you get it right - but it will be worth it!
Correctly cooked, the excess fat in the duck will drain into the lower pan; strain this through cheesecloth into a jar, screw on lid, and store in your refrigerator for up to several months. Duck fat is the most decadent thing in the world for cooking - eggs, oven roasted french fries, anything! It is worth the price of the duck to get the fat so DON'T WASTE IT! I haven't tried using it to make popcorn yet...!