Canoe 114

This is based on a classic chicken liver parfait, which I truly love, and learned to make in England. A while back, we got these wild snare-caught rabbits from Quebec, around James Bay. I wasn’t expecting to get the livers, hearts and kidneys, too. I was really happy when I did, so I started playing around with them and figured I’d make a parfait. So here’s a traditional English dish with a twist. Wild rabbit livers are intense—like chewing on a tree—so this is very rich and flavour-packed.

INGREDIENTS

Parfait:

  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf, torn
  • ½ tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 125 ml (½ cup) Madeira
  • 125 ml (½ cup) Port
  • 50 ml (¼ cup) rye whiskey
  • 50 ml (¼ cup) thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 150 g (5 oz) wild rabbit livers  (optional: and hearts and kidneys,  combined)*, cleaned and trimmed
  • 75 g (2½ oz) chicken livers, cleaned  and trimmed, room temperature
  • 50 g (2 oz) raw foie gras,  room temperature
  • Salt
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 225 g (½ lb) unsalted butter,  melted, room temperature
  • Pepper
METHOD

Arrange thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns in a sachet—or tie with cheesecloth. Combine with Madeira, Port, rye, shallots and garlic in a saucepan on medium-high heat and reduce to syrup. Remove and discard sachet; set reduction aside to cool. Combine rabbit offal, chicken livers and foie gras in the jar of a high-powered blender. Add a generous pinch of salt, and blitz until smooth. Add reserved reduction, and blitz again. Next, incorporate the eggs, one at a time. Then, blend in butter in a slow trickle. Stop as soon as the mixture is homogenous (over-blending will break the emulsion). Pass mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Taste and correct seasonings (at room temperature, seasoning should be assertive). Transfer to a small terrine mould—or divide between individual serving moulds or small mason jars.  Do not overfill (mixture will expand when cooked).

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).

Prepare a bain-marie: place mould(s) in the pan and add boiling water halfway up its (or their) side(s). Transfer to oven and cook to an internal temperature of 68°C (155°F). Remove mould(s) from bain-marie and set aside to cool, then press plastic wrap down onto the surface of the parfait, and transfer to refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours.

I like to serve this with grilled bannock and wild berries, but any good quality, mild-flavoured bread and sweet berry spread will do.

*This dish also works very nicely with offal from a farmed rabbit—sourced, more conveniently, from your butcher.

PAIRS WELL WITH:
Hidden Bench 2013 Felseck Vineyard Pinot Noir

More often than not, it’s the herbs and spices in a dish that makes a wine pairing seem like a perfectly choreographed duet. Pinot Noir is the perfect dance partner for the thyme in this recipe.

For more info on these and other fine wines, go to Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits.

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