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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lapin - Rabbit on French Menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan Newman

Rabbits are returning to menus in the UK and North America
UK and USA celebrity chefs put the rabbit on television and restaurant menus
 and supermarkets are selling rabbit.
Farmed European Rabbit
                                        Photograph courtesy of Cristian Bortes.                                                                                                                     
Rabbit, and to a lesser degree hare have always been popular in French homes and are on many French restaurant menus. Rabbit was always a tasty, inexpensive and easy to cook food. Until some sixty plus years ago was also a British and North American staple, and during WWII families raised rabbits for food  in the back garden. The rabbit on your French menu will have been farm bred for the cooking pot.
There are many types of rabbits in Europe, but those that are raised for food will have developed from the wild European rabbit. During the hunting season, a menu may read lapin de garenne a wild rabbit; however, wild rabbits are not popular with chefs outside specialized game restaurants, as they require too much preparation.

An adult rabbit is a lapin.
A young rabbit is a jeune lapin.

Your French menu may offer:

Lapin à la Kriek –  Rabbit cooked in a Belgian,  cherry flavored, beer. Kriek is the Flemish name for a popular sour red cherry.

Kriek beer.
Photograph courtesy of Bernt Rostad.
 When in France the closer you are to Belgium the more often you will see Lapin à la Kriek on the menu.

Filet de Lapin en Salade- Rabbit fillet served with a salad.
The beer is a Leffre Brune
Photograph courtesy of  fs999.
Lapin En Hure Rabbit cooked with herbs and vegetables and served de-boned. The way this dish is served depends on the chef, though most will include the natural aspic created during the cooking process. Small portions may be offered as an entrée; a larger portion may be served with a sauce ravigote as a main course.  Sauce Ravigote  is a thick vinaigrette sauce made with mustard, eggs, olive oil and herbs.
Then again the chef may have decided to have the rabbit meat wrapped in ham or served with goose liver alongside.  Read the menu carefully.
Lapin des Mille Vents, Label Rouge This is one of the six highest quality, farm-raised rabbits in France. This rabbit and another five others hold the label rouge, the red label for consistent quality. This farm-raised rabbit comes from the region of  Poitou-Charentes. When  a red label rabbit is on the menu the chef will often note it on the menu.,
Lapin en Paquets - Rabbit in packets.  This is a popular Provençal  dish of  rabbit cooked in small pieces and then wrapped in bacon with garlic, tomatoes and peppers.

Farm raised rabbit does not taste like chicken! It has a stronger taste with very tender meat. Rabbit also has more protein that chicken, beef , veal a or pork, and less cholesterol than chicken, turkey, beef or pork

Wild rabbits  have been farm-raised for food  since the 15th century. Rabbit only came to be considered as a pet in the 19th century, and those are different breeds.

Rabbit in the languages of France's neighbors:
(Catalan - conill de bosc), (Dutch - konijn  ).(German - wildkaninchen), (Italian - coniglio), (Spanish  - conejo), 
Rabbit in other languages:

(Arabic –أرن ب), (Chinese (Mandarin) -兔子  -  tùzi p), (Filipino – kuneho),  (Hebrew – arnev, arnevon – ארנב,  ארנבון ),   (Hindi  - खरगोश -  kharagōśa),  (Indonesian -   kelinci),  (Japanese -  ウサギ - usagi),(Korean – 토끼 – tokki), (Polish  - królik), (Portugues -   coelho ),  (Malay – arnab), (Russian -  кролик -  krolik). 

Saddle of rabbit, lacquered shoulder,
fresh gnocchi, olives and tomatoes
Photograph courtesy of Renée Suen 孫詩敏f.
According to Dictionary,Com the word rabbit came to English from old Norman-French. That confirms again  the French influence in the English kitchen from 1066 and onwards. From 1066, most of the British court spoke French and most British queens were French  imports.  Many of the words used in the English kitchen today came from Norman French. For more about the French influence in the English kitchen read the post: The French Connection and The English Kitchen

Bryan G. Newman

Behind the French Menu.
Copyright 2010, 2014.

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman