Saupiquet de lapin


I learned to make a very good sauce for rabbit in Anne Majourel’s kitchen at Le Ranquet in Tornac in that empty quarter of France just where the olive groves cease and the chestnut forests begin. Anne is a Languedocienne, taught to cook by her grandmother, and feels it is important to maintain cooking traditions, while recognizing how they can be adapted to modern needs with no sacrifice of integrity. What we made in her kitchen was saupiquet de lapin, a rich sauce thickened with the rabbit liver and redolent of garlic and the garrigue outside, acres of wild thyme. We ate it with roast rabbit and steamed potatoes. One rabbit liver will make enough sauce for two to three people. Anne fried the liver in grapeseed oil, not olive oil, which was a surprise until I remembered that her father is a winemaker in Corbières, and he makes his own oil after the wine making is over. A handful of fresh thyme and a bay leaf also went into the frying pan, and the liver was cooked until just pink inside. A couple of heads of garlic were peeled, two thirds of them simmered until soft in a little stock and vinegar, the remaining garlic crushed raw. The raw garlic, the cooked liver and its cooking juices without the herbs, were put in a food processor and blended until fairly smooth, and then the cooked garlic and stock was added and processed until a smooth sauce was obtained. Anne’s grandmère, she told me, would then enrich the sauce further, beating in egg yolk and oil as for a mayonnaise. When she reheated it, Anne simply stirred in a little aioli before serving and pronounced it unctus, a most descriptive word in the langue d’oc.