Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Conejos en Escabeche

Juan Valles Regalo de la Vida Humana

Assen muy bien los conejos y después córtenlos en pedaços y echenlos en una olla nueva or otra semejante vasija de tierra vedriada poniendo entre los pedaços del conejo hojas de laurel y una poca de salvia piccada, y después hagan el escabeche y échenselo por encima de manera que los pedacos estén bien cubiertos del escabeche, y el escabeche se haze desta manera: Tomen dos partes de buen bino blanco y una de vinagre fuerte, pero en esto se has de tener consideraçión a si el vinagre es fuerte o flaco, porque si fuere flaco será menester echar más, y si hoviere limones córtenlos y échenlos tanbién, y muelan clavos y pimienta y gengibre y un poco de nuez noscada y désele un hervor y su sabor de sal y échese sobre los conejos, pero téngase aviso que los conejos has de estar fríos quando se les echare este escabeche. Algunos echan un poco de azeite en este escabeche y para conejos súffrese, pero no para perdizes no otras aves.

Roast the rabbits very well and then cut them in pieces and place in a new pot or in a similar glazed earthenware vase, placing between the pieces of rabbit laurel leaves and a bit of chopped sage, and then make the escabeche and put it on each in a way so the pieces are well covered witht he escabeche, and make the escabeche in this way: Take two parts of good white wine and one of strong vinegar, but in this you must take consideration if the vinegar is strong or weak, because if it is weak it will be necessary to add more, and add enough lemons cut, and grind cloves, pepper and ginger and a little nutmeg and let it boil, salt to taste and put over the rabbits, but be advised that the rabbits must be cold when you add the escabeche. Some add a little oil in this escabeche and for rabbits it works but not for partridges or other birds.

This is a recipe I prepared and spoke about in NY a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't say much gastronomically because I wanted to leave it on the shelf for a few weeks to thoroughly pickle. I was a little apprehensive. Stop and think about it, rabbit sitting at room temperature for a few weeks? I guess if you've got to go, might as well be worth it. In the end, the flavor was quite intriguing, sour but with serious bitter and aromatic notes from the lemon peel and bay. Definitely worth a try. And incidentally, this manuscript was just published in facsimile from a unique copy in Vienna. I venture to guess this may well be the first translation of this ever made into English. And as for tasting it, I might be the first person in 450 years. Or maybe all the others were poisoned.


Deana Sidney said...

You are a brave man, Ken. I remember getting a serious warning about leaving peppers in oil too long and the threat of botulism. I guess if there was enough acid in the mix the meat cannot spoil. I wonder what would happen if you cured meat in honey (sugar would keep the bugs away too?).

Very cool about the re-discovered cookbook. How many more are lurking on dusty old shelves out of circulation??

Ken Albala said...

I think they printed a few hundred facsimiles recently and I bought one for a ridiculous amount of money. But it was defintiely worth it. Otherwise there exists only one manuscript on earth of the original, in Vienna.

Juana Isabella/Donna said...

The spicing is a bit different, but it does have some similarities to Nola's Escabeche De Conejos ... (as translated by Robin Carrol-Mann) Pickled Rabbits
Escabeche De Conejos
Roast the rabbits, and cut them at the joints; and take in a frying-pan: two parts of vinegar and one of water if the vinegar is weak; if [the vinegar] is strong, equal parts [of vinegar and water]; and cast in salt until you see that it has flavor; and cast in the salt in stages, not all together, so that it does not become salty; and cast in oil which is sweet, the quantity that seems [right] to you, because some wish a little and others, a lot; and give it a boil without the rabbits; and then cast everything together into a pot, and set it apart so that it will cool; and cast in ginger, cloves, and saffron; and this escabeche will last many days.

Ken Albala said...

Juana, Thanks. I am certain Valles had Rupert in hand. Some recipes are copped directly. And in this one he seems to respond to him: some put in oil. But he leaves it out. Thanks for this, I hadnt looked at Rupert. It might be in Sent Sovi too. Ken

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

I do this with pheasant, but I keep it in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. You will not catch me keeping escabeche on the shelf...