Hi friends! I promised a Weekend Cooking post this weekend and I am cutting it quite close!! But I have a very good dish for you here today! I was looking for some historical inspiration and took to Pinterest (where I usually end up for recipes). Pinterest led me to the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Foodways page where I found a whole bunch of interesting sounding recipes - I will definitely be visiting there again! The one that stood out the most however was Collops of Rabbit with Champagne Wine: 1. because I had no idea what the word collops meant, 2. I am a fan of rabbit, and 3. because there is champagne in this recipe!
So, first, the definition of collops: a small slice of meat (Dictionary.com). Second, I substituted chicken in place of rabbit. I do have a butcher nearby where I could have bought rabbit, but I had chicken in the freezer and the recipe (even the historical part) says it can be made with chicken instead, so I didn't feel like I was violating the historical aspect and it was for convenience sake. Third, we definitely had champagne!
Rabbit isn't a protein that is commonly consumed in today's culture, however, it was extremely common in the 18th century where this recipe come from. I happen to love rabbit and it does taste very similar to chicken, so I can see why the flavor palate would work the same here. Below I am including the original 18th century recipe from "The Complete System of Cookery" by William Verral - if you would like to see the modern translation, please visit the Historic Foodways page.
Collops of Rabbit with Champagne Wine
Take the flesh of a couple of rabbits, cut it in slices, and with a knife pat it down so as to make it very thin, rub some butter all over a large stew pan, mixed with some green onion and some parsley minced very fine, stick the meat round, and fry it a minute or two over a brisk stove, giving it toss or two, let it lie in that til you have prepared your sauce, which must be thus done, put into a small stew pan a ladle of cullis, a glass of Champagne, pepper, salt and nutmeg, a small quantity of such herbs as you like, and a morsel of shallot, boil it five or six minutes, and put your rabbit in, make it only boiling hot, squeeze in the juice of a lemon or orange, and serve it up. The flesh of chickens make a neat dish in the same way.
We paired our chicken with a basic buttered rice and glazed carrots - side dishes that would have been possible at the time this recipe was written. The sauce that you see in the separate bowl is the Champagne sauce created in the recipe above, we just put it on the side so it didn't run all over the plate.
I must say, this dish was extremely tasty and I would for sure make it again (hopefully with rabbit next time). It was sweet, thanks to the Champagne and orange juice, but mellowed nicely by the chicken stock and herbs. I do have one significant recommendation, don't add the green onions at the beginning of the recipe as it states - I highly suggest waiting until after you have added the Champagne and stock to your pan. We had a little incident of the temperate being set too high and then my husband and I both thought the other was watching the dish (neither of us were) and they essentially burned in the pan. I had to empty the pan and start the sauce over. Adding them later in the recipe still allows them to impart their flavor, but without losing their texture too much.
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