Rabbit Stew from Heritage by Sean Brock

I first heard about Sean Brock five years ago when I first watched his season of Mind of a Chef. I admire his dedication to reviving heirloom ingredients and techniques, which is probably his defining characteristic as a chef and restaurateur. I still haven’t had a full meal at his flagship Husk in Charleston, only drinks and appetizers at the bar. I’ll get there soon!

I picked up Brock’s Heritage shortly after it came out and have only cooked a few things from it because I can’t reliably source most of the heirloom ingredients he uses in most of his recipes. The ones I can get ingredients for are wonderful, and I love flipping through this book to look at the gorgeous photos and read Brock’s commentary and farmer profiles between the sections.

When I discovered that I could get high quality local whole rabbits from Campbell Meats in Dobbs Ferry, I decided to make Brock’s Rabbit Stew with Black Pepper Dumplings when our dear friend Kat came to visit.

You should definitely plan to make this on weekend, not a Thursday night like I did. It isn’t particularly difficult, but it is time consuming for one person to make the stew: Boiling for an hour and a half, pulling and shredding the meat, making the roux, chopping and adding the veggies, then putting it all back together. Next time I’ll make the stew a day or two ahead of time and reheat it while we make the dumplings.

I put Kat to work helping make the dumplings. I’m a big fan of giving guests a job so they don’t feel like they have to just sit there and twiddle their thumbs. It also gives you more time to talk and catch up. You get help and they feel invested in the final outcome. Win/win.

This recipe alone warrants buying this book. It is fantastic. Perfect for a chilly evening and good friends. Everyone ate multiple helpings and Amanda and I both took it for lunch later in the week.

I’m glad I picked up this book again. While I can’t make most of the main dishes out of it, I certainly can make some of the sides, condiments, and pickles Husk uses to accent their main dishes. I also missed the drinks and bitters section the first time around, which I’m keen to dive in to. Did you know that the Queen Anne’s Lace flower is a wild carrot? By the time the flowers come out, the carrot is bitter enough to make a tincture with.

That is exactly why I’m doing this Cooking the Books challenge – Revisiting old things that I missed and getting more out of them. More to come soon.

Eating Our Way Around Flushing

Back in January, Amanda and I met our friend Dani in Flushing, Queens, for a day of stuffing ourselves with Chinese food. We roughly followed the Serious Eats guide: How to Eat Flushing: A One-Day Food Tour of NYC’s Greatest Chinatown. Here is how it went.

Noon

We decided to meet at noon. Unfortunately, due to NYC’s ubiquitious weekend subway maintenance, Dani was running late. We all agreed to skip breakfast to make room for the mass quantity of dumplings we were about to consume, so we were pretty hungry. Amanda and I decided to get a quick snack from a street stall while we were waiting. We couldn’t really tell what anything was and we don’t speak or read Chinese (nothing at this stall was in English), so we just pointed at something and handed over some money. It ended up being fried tofu balls of some sort. Good little snack.

First Stop: Tian Jin Dumpling House


Dani made it about 30 minutes later and we made our way to the first destination: The Tian Jin Dumpling House. It took us a few minutes to find because it is in the basement food hall of The Golden Shopping Mall on Main St.

We got two plates of dumplings to share:  Pumpkin TangYuan w/ Sesame (the daily special) and Beef dumplings with turnip. I loved the ground black sesame seeds in the pumpkin TangYuan. They were slightly gritty with a sweet but savory flavor that worked well with the pumpkin wrapper.

White Bear

After eating a few plates at Tian Jin, we decided to walk around the block to White Bear and order their well-known specialty: #6, wontons with hot sauce. People must order this all the time because the old lady behind the counter rolled her eyes when we ordered it.

These were probably the best dumplings we had all day. As Serious Eats reports, they are “dressed in not-actually-spicy chili oil, ground up roasted chili, and nubs of funky, salty preserved mustard root.” We would have ordered at least two more plates of these, but we wanted to same room for later.

Fang Gourmet Tea

With a belly full of dumplings and in desperate need of caffeine, we jumped ahead on the itinerary and went to Fang Gourmet Tea to have a world-class tea tasting.

The tea seller who led our tasting was a complete expert and taught us a ton throughout the process. She incredibly kind and patiently answered our newbie questions. We were invited to taste and smell the tea at every part of the 5-stage brewing process. She pointed out aromas and tastes that we would have missed on our own and pointed out what sets this tea apart from the others on the list.

We tasted the Premium Roasted Oolong and the Original Ti Kuan Yin Honey Aroma 50% Roasted. Both were incredible. We left with a new appreciation for the world of tea and had a newfound desire to buy a porcelain gaiwan and learn how to brew tea at home.

Right before we left, another party came into the small shop. I thought I recognized one of the guys, and it turns out I was right. It was Max Falkowitz, the Serious Eats contributor and author of the very guide we were following that day! I introduced myself and told him what we were up to. He gave us even more great tips on where to go. Super nice guy!

Fu Run

We walked around for a bit to stretch our legs and get some sun, then we headed over to Fu Run to get the Muslim Lamb Chop: A rack of lamb ribs covered in cumin and ground chiles. They were fiery and delicious. We got a plate of pork fried rice as a side.

Dessert: Iris Tea & Bakery

Dani had plans back in Manhattan late in the afternoon, and Amanda and I did, too. So instead of getting BBQ or Dosas for dinner, we decided to get an early dessert before heading back across the river. We scoped out a few places, but ultimately landed at Iris Tea & Bakery. We picked four desserts to share:

  • Taro Cube – This was super dense and didn’t have an overwhelming taro flavor. It wasn’t sweet. Overall decent, but probably not something we’d pick again.
  • Hokkaido Pineapple Bread – We expected this to have a lot of pineapple flavor, but it was actually pretty bland. Not recommended.
  • Mexican Cheese Chocolate Bread – Very good. Would have again. We didn’t expect it be hollow, but the Mexican chocolate and cheese was awesome.
  • Matcha Cranberry Cream Cheese Bread – This was, surprisingly, the best out of the bunch. It was probably the cream cheese.

After enjoying these, we made a bee-line for the subway and went back into Manhattan.

We’ll be back for more, Flushing. We need to have more #6 at White Bear, drink some more tea, and make our way to Mapo for BBQ and Ganesh Temple Canteen for dosas.

Next time you are in NYC, set some time aside to hit Flushing. It is very close to LaGuardia Airport, so leave two hours early for your flight and stop in Flushing for a meal. Then get a cab to LGA from Flushing, which shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.