Seasonal ingredients… what exactly are they? In today’s “I want it now” world, where we have greenhouses and overseas shipping, the seasons influence our diets a lot lot less than those of our ancestors. But this all comes with consequences that we are having to face up to more and more. Yes, the loss of the seasonally-influenced diet and an increase in global warming do overlap to an extent. Food miles play a crucial part as out-of-season food is more likely to be shipped from overseas, with the consequential increase in greenhouse gas emissions.a
Maybe I’m stretching the point but I believe that a more seasonal diet would benefit both the environment and ourselves. I say this as a total hypocrite because I love cucumbers and buy them all year round. But by cooking seasonally, we are introduced to “new-old” ingredients that so many “millennials” wouldn’t even consider cooking with today. So not only does eating seasonally improve our planet, make us more aware of the environment but it also encourages our creativity as we cook new ingredients.
In the name of seasonal creativity, I decided it was time to explore what was on offer during autumn. Of course I chose to cook something I have never even dared try before.
Rabbit. I decided to cook rabbit.
Yes, they are cute and cuddly pets. Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny are adorable parts of most British children’s childhood. But have you never been tempted to try what was Britain’s staple meat up to the early 20th Century? (Believe it or not, there was a time when chicken was expensive!) As rabbit is in season during September, I was off down to the butchers to buy my first rabbit.
What do you serve with rabbit? How do you even cook rabbit? With seasonal ingredients surely? After some research, I decided to pair my rabbit with celeriac, white wine, mushrooms and chestnuts as a casserole/pot roast, par my butcher’s advice. Butchers are seriously knowledgeable so you should definitely make the most of their advice. To go with my rabbit casserole, I chose runner beans as they are reaching the end of their season in September. I also decided to incorporate blackberries because they really are the autumnal food, by turning them into this delicious vinaigrette I found on Pinterest.
The biggest shock was quite how strong a taste and smell rabbit has. I could smell it all day while it defrosted (yes, I bought it frozen)! Fortunately when paired with it’s seasonal accompaniments, the rabbit became a delicious autumnal stew. It’s definitely a meat I would try cooking with again. I’m open to suggestions for other ingredients to cook it with so comment below with your ideas. Maybe this time, I’ll keep track of the actual recipe and measurements to share with you*.
The post CounterCultural Kitchen: Why Cook with Seasonal Ingredients first appeared on CounterCultural. CounterCouture.
*Due to moving house stress and general organisation, I completely forgot to note what I exactly did for this dish. Should I ever recreate it, I will make a note of what I actually do.