Posts Tagged “saddle”

Hearty's Stuffed Rabbit Saddle My flatmate Hearty and I went through the wars together when we worked at The Kitchin, an invaluable experience that both toughened us and taught us how to _really_ cook properly. I have fond memories of those days. Although I left the chef game a few years ago, Hearty is still working in restaurants and due to this pandemic he has, unsurprisingly, had a lot of spare time on his hands recently. If that means he has more time to cook delicious meals we can share together, then that's got to be a silver lining! There had been a couple of rabbit saddles in our freezer for several months, which Hearty had brought home from work. He took them out last week and decided to put them to good use. This dish is more restaurant-style than what you would typically find on this blog; it's elegant and beautiful and would not be out of place on the menu of a Michelin star restaurant. The cross-section of the stuffed saddle makes it a really eye-catching dish. Hearty and I are both very much at home deboning and stuffing rabbit saddles, as we both worked on the meat section at The Kitchin and rabbit was a regular feature of the menu there. Back then we used to cut the saddle in half and stuff a single loin, wrapped in its belly flap and tied with string, whereas this time Hearty kept the whole saddle in one piece, carefully removing the bone with the skin still intact all around both loins. It's a delicate operation that requires finesse. If you ask your butcher, they may be able to do this for you. You'll need some butcher's string, too, for tying it up. Tying the saddle with a proper butcher's knot is a skill in itself. I'm not going to attempt to provide instructions for this, but you can easily find videos on Youtube to help you. Also, you should ideally have an ovenproof heavy-based frying pan or skillet for cooking the rabbit saddle. --- * 1 rabbit saddle, de-boned * 1/4 preserved lemon, pith removed * 6 slices parma ham * 250 g button mushrooms * 100 g chorizo * 500 g spinach * 1 banana shallot, finely diced * 2 cloves garlic, finely diced * 2 medium carrots * 200 g new potatoes * 1 small handful wild herbs, for garnish (optional) * sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper * rapeseed oil, for cooking * reserved rabbit bones, chopped * 1 carrot, chopped * 1 stick celery, chopped * 1 shallot, finely sliced * 1 clove garlic, chopped * 1 sprig thyme * 1 bay leaf * 100 ml brandy, or cognac * 100 ml double cream * 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard 1. Firstly prepare the sauce. This will take a couple of hours so you will want to get it started as soon as possible. Place a large heavy-based pan over a high heat and add about 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil. When the oil is hot (after about 30 seconds), add the chopped rabbit bones and fry, stirring occasionally, until they are a golden colour. Remove the bones from the pan and set aside. Now add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic thyme and bay. Add a pinch of salt, then cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened and any caramelised residue on the bottom of the pan has become unstuck. Add the brandy, and boil until reduced to a syrupy consistency. Add enough water to cover the bones, and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 2 hours, topping up with water when necessary to ensure the bones are covered. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into another pan, add the cream, then boil until reduced to a thick sauce consistency. Finally, stir in the mustard. 2. While the sauce is simmering, you can get on with preparing the rabbit: place a large saute pan over a medium-high heat and add about 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil. When the oil is hot, add the spinach with a small pinch of salt and cook until wilted. A lot of water will be released from the spinach. Transfer to a colander and set aside to cool down. Cut the mushrooms into approximately 5mm dice, and cut the chorizo into dice the same size. Finely chop the lemon confit. Heat a large pan over a high heat and add about 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil. When the oil is hot, add the diced mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are half-cooked. Now add the shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt and continue to cook. After 3 minutes reduce heat to medium, then add the diced chorizo. Cook for a further 3 minutes, then transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool down. 3. Once the spinach is cool enough to handle, use your hands to squeeze out all the excess liquid. Once this is done, roughly chop it and add to the bowl with the mushroom mix. Add diced lemon confit and salt and pepper to taste. This is the stuffing for the rabbit saddle. 4. Now to stuff the rabbit saddles: place two pieces of parma ham side by side lenthways on a chopping board. It should be approximately the same surface area as your rabbit saddle. If needed use an extra piece of parma ham to make sure you have enough to wrap your saddle completely. Lay your saddle skin side down on the ham and lightly season with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with your mushroom and spinach mix. You want a cylinder of mix to run through the centre of the loin roughly the width of a fifty pence coin. Once this is done, pull over the parma ham to allow you to wrap your stuffed saddle into a cylinder shape. Then tie it with your twine using a butchers knot. 5. To prepare the vegetables: you can cook the potatoes and carrots any way you like, but I would suggest boiling the potatoes and then cutting the carrots into medium chunks before roasting in the oven. 6. Ensure your oven is pre-heated to 180C, on the fan setting. Heat a heavy-based frying pan or skillet over a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil. When the oil is hot, add the rabbit saddle and fry until lightly caramelised on all sides. Place in the oven for 6 minutes. Check that it is cooked in the centre using either a thin skewer or temperature probe (it should be 60C). If it needs longer, turn it over and return to the oven. When it is cooked, remove from the pan and rest on a rack for 6 minutes before untying the string and carving each into three pieces. Serve alongside the carrots and potatoes, with a drizzle of sauce on top. Finally garnish with some wild herbs, if you have any.

Stuffed Saddle of Lamb Lamb chops were always a staple part of our diet when we were young, usually simply roasted and served with baked potatoes and veg from the garden; simple but delicious. The loin meat from the top half of the saddle - the best end - is some of nicest and most tender from the whole animal. Keep the chops attached and you have a rack of lamb, perfect to roast whole and carve into classic lamb cutlets. The bottom half of the saddle - the short saddle - does not have any rib bones and so you would normally just roast this as a piece of loin. What we do in the restaurant is a little more special however; we take the loin from the bone, leaving a flap of the belly fat attached, then make a stuffing from sautéed kidneys and spinach and roll the loin up inside the fat. The saddle is then tied with string and roasted. It’s a lovely way to cook the loin meat as it’s quite well protected from the surrounding fat. --- * 1 short saddle of lamb, belly flaps attached * 2 lamb kidneys * 200g of baby spinach * 6 pitted black olives * 1 shallot * 1 small clove of clove of garlic * 3 green courgettes * 3 yellow courgettes * extra virgin olive oil * vegetable oil, for frying * sea salt and cracked black pepper 1. Carefully remove the bone from the short saddle, being careful not to leave any of the meat attached to the bone. Trim off the skin from the layer of fat, being very careful not to make any holes in the flap, as we need this intact in order to wrap around the loins. You now have 2 pieces of loin with a flap of fat attached to each. Place the layer of fat on a chopping board and bash it out with the flat part of a heavy knife, to flatten the fat to a nice thin layer. Again, be careful not to make any holes. Place the loins in the fridge. 2. Get a medium pan hot on the stove, and sauté the spinach with a pinch of salt until gently wilted. Transfer to a colander and leave to chill in the fridge. Meanwhile, finely chop the shallot and garlic and sweat slowly in olive oil until soft. Transfer to a bowl. Roughly chop the black olive and add to the bowl. Now take the lamb kidneys and remove the outer membrane. Cut in half lengthways and cut out the white gristle from inside. Cut the kidneys into 5mm dice, then fry in a hot pan until lightly coloured. Remove, and add to the bowl with the shallots, garlic and olive. Once the spinach is cold, squeeze all the remaining moisture from it by wringing in your hands. Mix together with the kidney and shallot mixture. Season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper. 3. Divide the mix into two, one half for each loin. Lay out the loin on a board with the fat facing towards you. Place the spinach mix tight into the join of where the loin meets the fat, then roll it up, with the fat wrapping around the loin. Tie securely with butcher's twine. Repeat with the other loin. Place the stuffed saddles in the fridge for 30 minutes to set. 4. Heat the oven to 180C. Cut 2mm slices off the courgettes lengthways, taking only the vibrant skin from the outside, and reserve the inner white part for another recipe. Cut the slices into thin strips. Set aside. Get a heavy based frying pan hot on the stove, and fry the stuffed saddles until lightly coloured all over. Place in the oven for 3 minutes, then turn over. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the inside temperature reaches 55C, which is medium rare. Leave the meat to rest on a rack for 15-20 minutes. Just before carving the meat, sauté the courgettes in olive oil until just cooked, and season with sea salt. Carve each loin into 3 pieces, and place on top of the spaghetti of courgettes. Serve with some nice crusty bread and a glass of white wine.