Crêpes with Rabbit Ragù

by Jenn on October 30, 2010

in Gluten Free,Meats,Wine

My first crêpes!

I think half the fun of life is in embarking on adventures you’ve never done before, just to see what they would be like.  Sometimes those are the scariest moments (like say, moving halfway across the world to a country where you knew nothing of the local language and all your family and friends are thousands of miles away? ha), but sometimes they are also the moments best suited for growth and development.  Not just in technique/skills, but also a personal evolution.  My passions in life now speak to me in ways I never knew they could before.  Over time I have found this to be just as true in the kitchen.

Comfort is tasty, and the ritualism that comes with the cherished and familiar always works for a tasty meal.  But that’s the thing.  It’s safe, precisely because of its familiarity.  The adrenaline from the rush of doing the unexpected isn’t present in making and eating comfort food – it is the very definition of the expected, and there is immense value in that.  However, if I only ever did what was safe and comfortable, where would I be as a cook? As a person?  Someone who only looks to past successes becomes flat and boring very quickly.

Excitement comes with the scary unknown.  Growth happens during the scary unknown.  Ok, I’m not talking horror film make-you-terrified-of-turning-your-lights-off-at-night scary (though that would be rather timely for the Halloween holiday), just that bit of trepidation that jumps your heart-rate a little giving you a burst of energy, that motivation to conquer the unknown head-on and with confidence.  That place, the one you’re now thinking of but just can’t quite put your finger on that emotion even though you’ve felt it before too, yes that place is what I’m talking and am articulating quite poorly.  I love that place, and actually strive to be there in the kitchen.  I love not quite knowing what I’m doing, and just going with the moment and seeing what comes from the experience.


PAG_0916ragu My first crêpes!

Rabbit is not a protein I have worked with before, so this dish was totally exploratory.  In fact, before this ragù, I had only ever eaten it once, on our honeymoon a couple years ago.  We were in this cozy place in Truro, enjoying a romantic meal of braised veal for my husband while I savoured the rabbit ragù & pappardelle.  That night was my first, and until just a couple weeks ago, only time ever eating rabbit.  Not because I didn’t enjoy it (I certainly did!), but because it was not a common meat to find where we lived.  And then, one serendipitous moment battling the chaos that is Saturday afternoon shopping in a grocery store en Suisse, I saw rabbit and just knew I had to pick it up and cook something.  I had no clue what yet, but I felt that something would come together when the moment needed to happen.

Spontaneous purchases of new foods usually go well for me, which helps my confidence and willingness to keep challenging myself with new dishes.  Last year I impulsively purchased some quail and having never cooked it (or even eaten it!) before, I thought the results came out great.  This dish was no exception.  I wasn’t “driving blind” though – I did base my dish off of a recipe I found by the ever-illustrious Jamie Oliver.  After a few changes (like serving them in crêpes and adding in cream), I had a ragù that we could see ourselves making time and again, another tasty conquest of a new food.

Crêpes don’t have to be limited to only dessert or breakfast dishes.  If you walk in to any crêperie, you can order satisfying savory crêpes that make you wonder why this wasn’t comfort food when you were growing up (or maybe it was, in which case you were one lucky kid!).  Ever since I figured out how to make gluten free crêpes, they have been a welcome alternative to pancakes in the morning.  But for dinner? They are an even more welcome alternative to pasta.  Especially for this ragù.  A few more times, and I think this dish will cross over from the category of “new and unprecedented (at least in my kitchen)” to “classic comfort”.  I love when that happens and I can see my repertoire of comfort foods growing and transforming.  But it all starts with that first, maybe a little courageous, leap.

Also submitted to - Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Gluten Free Wednesdays

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Maggie October 31, 2010 at 12:24 am

Jenn I just love your approach to food and life! You’re so positive and you seem to be up for ANY challenge. As usual, your pics are great!

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Jenn October 31, 2010 at 8:27 am

Thanks so much Maggie!

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GFree_Miel October 31, 2010 at 1:07 am

I love the way you just dive into any challenge! The rabbit ragu looks good, though I can’t imagine what it tastes like as I’ve never had rabbit before. But your photos always make me willing to try anything because it looks so darn good!

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Jenn October 31, 2010 at 8:27 am

Rabbit is really tasty in my opinion. Lots of flavor and it lends itself well to long cooking. Def. try some if you get the chance!

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Rosa October 31, 2010 at 2:07 am

I love rabbit! That is such a flavorful meat. Your crêpes look so appetizing. Yummy

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn October 31, 2010 at 8:28 am

Thanks Rosa!

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Yesim October 31, 2010 at 10:25 am

I love crepe ,and this looks so yummy, i loved the pics.. I never tried rabbit meat , wanna try once;)

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Jenn October 31, 2010 at 11:43 am

Thank you!

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InTolerantChef October 31, 2010 at 11:32 am

Rabbits are such a pest in this country and used to be widely eaten. They were even called ‘underground mutton’. Nowdays a farmed rabbit at the butcher would cost me about $21 or more so I don’t really use it even though it’s delcious. Good job, Yumm…

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Jenn October 31, 2010 at 11:45 am

Thanks! I agree, quite delicious :)

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Selena Cate November 2, 2010 at 4:43 am

I’m a first time visitor to your blog and it just took a few sentences to really connect to your writing. What a gift you have not only in writing, but cooking and photography as well. Since venturing into the world of food blogging, I have found that taking risks and also using my intuition have both proven fabulous assets in the kitchen when playing around with food. I’ve tried things that I’ve never attempted before because I didn’t think I could. Now I realize that nothing is stopping me from throwing this and that in a skillet and seeing what I’ve created.

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Jenn November 2, 2010 at 7:23 am

Thank you so much for the wonderful compliments! That’s one of my favorite parts of food blogging, is that it’s always pushing me to create new dishes and try new things – I’m glad you’ve been able to come so far in your cooking skills – I love learning that there’s really nothing to be afraid of :)

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bake in paris November 2, 2010 at 5:07 am

Adventurous treat, rabbit is totally new for me! But this definitely look delicious :-)

And congrats for winning DMBLGIT Oct!

Sawadee from Bangkok,
Kris

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Jenn November 2, 2010 at 7:24 am

Thanks Kris! You have never had rabbit before? Oh it’s a wonderful meat, you def. should try it sometime :)
And thanks so much for the congrats, I was so excited when I read my email this morning!!!!

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Aubree Cherie November 2, 2010 at 11:28 am

These look SO good!

~Aubree Cherie

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Jenn November 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Thanks Aubree!

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Nicola Stockmann-Tannerfors November 3, 2010 at 7:38 am

These look so delicious. You really have perfected the art of crepe making! What type of pan do you use to make them so perfect and thin?
Best
Nicola

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Jenn November 3, 2010 at 7:41 am

Thanks!! I just use a plain 10″ stainless steel frying pan, nothing special…

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Celiacs in the House November 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Jenn
Just stopped by for my dose of adrenaline. Cooking comfort food for my kids does keep me low on the thrill factor sometimes. Even though they can be pretty adventurous eaters, I get overwhelmed and reach for the easy way out of the meal planning dilemmas. Thanks to your beautiful photography and fearlessness in the kitchen, not to mention the location of your kitchen, I get to experience some of the thrills and adrenaline of your experiments. Keep the experiments and the great food writing and photography coming. It feels like it’s going to be a long winter here in Ohio.
Wendy

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Jenn November 3, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Thanks so much Wendy!
I don’t think you give yourself enough credit :) You’ve got plenty of fearlessness in the kitchen!

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Donna February 8, 2014 at 11:28 pm

In France…we love our rabbit..it is so lean and yet bursting with flavor…thank you for a very creative option…it changes from the typical “à la moutard”!!

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Jenn February 11, 2014 at 7:52 am

You’re welcome, hope you enjoy it!

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