Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit

Today is the first day of the month.  When I was a kid, I learned that if the first thing out of your mouth the moment you woke up on the first day of the month were the words, "Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit," you would have good luck all month.  I never fail to think of this on the first of any month, but I never manage to utter the words in time, either, so I can't testify to the efficacy of the practice.

The other thing this old superstition always calls to mind is rabbit stew.  We decided to become vegetarians on New Year's Day, 1977.  We were in France at the time, and the very last meat dish I ate was lapin a la chasseur,  which is a savory rabbit stew made with potatoes and onions, garlic, carrots, and red wine, cooked so slowly and so long that the rabbit falls off the bone and the flavors meld.

It was delicious.  But I'd never eat a bunny, now.  So instead, I make myself content with a nice Welsh rarebit, which is nothing more than toast smothered in a yummy cheesy 'gravy'.  It's so simple, and yet it's one of the great comfort foods.  Here's how I like to do it :

Make a roux in a skillet by melting 2 tablespoons of butter and mixing in 2 tablespoons of flour to make a smooth paste.  Then whisk in about a half cup of room-temperature beer, 3/4 cup of whole milk, and about a tablespoon of mustard.  ( I like Dijon).  If I have it on hand, I like to add a teaspoon of prepared horseradish.  I've also perked it up with vegetarian Worchestershire sauce, or sometimes a little hot sauce.  Depends on how spicy you feel while you're making it. When the roux is nice and smooth, add a cup to a cup and a half of shredded sharp Cheddar cheese and stir until it's all melted in.

Then pour the 'rarebit' over a couple of pieces of toast.  Toast some really good bread in order to make the dish something special.  A thick slice or two of an artisan rye is great.  Or if you're a better cook than I, bake up a homemade loaf.  

Enjoy, and have a really lucky August.

3 comments:

Dana Fredsti said...

I've never heard the 'rabbit, rabbit, rabbit' tradition before, Donis! I have, however, eaten rabbit pie and it was quite tasty.

Donis Casey said...

A Canadian friend of mine told me that she was told to say "White rabbit" on the first day of the month. I'd love to hear where that came from.

Marian Allen said...

Mmmm.... Sweet little bunnies. (sorry)I also love Welsh rarebit. Well, anything with cheese in it. Or beer. Or cheese AND beer....