What’s up doc?

6 Apr

Some time back when I was travelling in the Andes I put this in my mouth and swallowed it.


This is an Andean Guinea Pig which has been traditionally baked in a hot oven on a hot rock of some description. They go by the name of cuy. This particular cuy was consumed on a balcony overlooking the colonial-style main square in the Peruvian town of Arequipa. People in the Andes are thought to have first domesticated these animals some 5000 years ago and not because they are cute and furry. They were domesticated to provide food. When I was trekking through the countryside in the Andes, there weren’t too many households where you didn’t see them being kept in outdoor enclosures for exactly that purpose.

I only ate the one cuy but that wasn’t because it was horrible, it was just a bit too much of an effort to eat for so little meat. You really need to get your hands greasy to get the meat of those little fragile bones. It did make me think about the meat we eat in the world though. If everyone in the world develops a taste for the same protein sources, beef, lamb and pork, where are we going to farm them all? On the area currently known as the Amazon rainforest perhaps? I might be stretching things there but you do get the point. It is a serious environmental issue.  One thing that puzzles me is why we don’t eat more of what is abundant near to where we live.

One such animal here, and I suspect in many countries around the world, is the rabbit. Often scoffed in the UK for being peasant food or more recently because they are cute little bunny-wunnies, these animals are a plentiful source of meat and very often a pest in the local habitat. They are also very, very cheap. You won’t be surprised to learn that I picked up 2 for £5 at a local farmers market recently. Eating them would seem to be a win-win situation. The meat is good, wild and there is certainly more on them than on the cuy that I ate.

They are a seasonal product and the rabbit season finishes at the end of February so I froze those last two before cooking them. Historical and traditional recipe books always have a few rabbit recipes in and amongst all the mutton recipes that also seem to have disappeared from modern tables so I decided to try a couple of new ones back to back  (almost) and see how they turned out.

The first was a fairly typical recipe with cider, tarragon and mushrooms. When it came down to it though I didn’t have any cider so I chopped some apple up and used some of my homemade oakleaf wine. I guessed this might come out a lot sweeter and a bit less refined than using a dry cider and I was correct. It was pretty tasty.

rabbit 1

The second recipe came from a torn out page of a recipe magazine and was called Craddock’s Hazlenut Picada. I’m guessing Craddock refers to Fanny Craddock, the legendary mad-as-a-lorry TV chef from the distant past, but please correct me if I’m wrong. I think this recipe could be Maltese in origin or perhaps Spanish but I’m not sure. Again let me know if you have any information. Anyway, I enjoyed this one too. It’s quite rich but I liked this recipe more. Then again that could be because I didn’t tinker with the recipe!!!!

Braised Rabbit with Mushrooms and Cider (Official Version)

Ingredients: 30g butter; oil; 4 rabbit portions; 4 small onions;  375g of quartered mushrooms; 300ml dry cider; parsley; tarragon; 300ml single cream

Method: Brown the rabbit in the butter and oil and remove; add onions to pan and stir until golden; add mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes; return the rabbit and add cider, parsley and tarragon, season and bring to boil; cover and cook at 160c/325F/gas 3 until rabbit is tender (90 minutes); remove rabbit and reduce sauce then add cream, season and garnish.

Craddock’s Rabbit with Hazlenut Picada

Ingredients: Rabbit; Olive oil; 4 tomatoes chopped; onion; garlic; parsley; 250ml white wine; thyme; celery; paprika; 75g hazlenuts toasted; garlic (I like a lot); a few strands of saffron; chopped red chilli peppers

Method: Put hazlenuts, 3-5 cloves garlic, saffron, chilli peppers and some oil into a blender and press ‘whizz’; In a pan fry onions and olive oil until translucent; add tomatoes, garlic and parsley and reduce until you get a thick sauce; brown rabbit pieces in another pan in some more oil; add rabbit to the reduced tomato sauce; add everything else except the sauce in the blender; cook the rabbit for 25-35 minutes until it is nicely cooked then remove from sauce; now add the contents of the blender to the tomato sauce and cook to the right consistency; pour over the rabbit pieces and drizzle a bit of olive oil and sprinkle some paprika over the top.


For my next mission, I will eat a squirrel. There are too many of the blighters running riot across this country. Again, a plentiful source of protein. Anyone know where I can eat it?


2 Responses to “What’s up doc?”

  1. trixfred30 April 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    The kids love this we’re having it for dinner tonight!

    • Profesor April 8, 2012 at 1:20 am #

      Great! Get them while they’re young and they’ll thank you for it. Enjoy!

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