Madeleine sells rabbits, but she says all her rabbits are too little right now to eat. As a freebie, she and her husband gave me a piece of frozen "ventre" from her freezer.
This was pretty Lord of the Rings. It came complete with the kidneys, liver, heart, and lots of blood. I let it thaw, rubbed with olive oil, garlic, salt, and herbes de provence, just to take out any possible weird flavors. Then I followed the ancient couple's strict instructions about how to cook it: stuffed with a mixture of cubed baguette, eggs, and sausage (I got great sausage from the covered market in Carcassonne and then I cheated on their recipe by adding sauteed onions and hazelnuts); trussed it up; and cooked it in hot water with leeks, onions, celery, and carrots. I had extra stuffing so I made a "poule verte," which is a little stuffed cabbage roll.
I had made some chicken stock and asked Madeleine if I could poach the rabbit in that. Absolutely not, she said. "Il faut pas les melanger."
I was glad I didn't mix them, because the rabbit was extremely mild, the resulting broth pure and sweet. I served the stuffed loin with sel gris and grainy mustard, and on the side we had chickpeas stewed with bacon and a salad of rocket and sunflower seeds, courtesy of my beautiful friend Mia. Our 5-euro bottle of local nouveau wine was limpid and cherry-scented and the kind of thing fairies probably drink. Tomorrow we are visiting a Cathar castle. Except for Ethan, I'm not missing NY.