Mustard, in its many forms, has been a staple in the civilizations of the world for thousands of years, for medicinal purposes as well as cuisine It has been used for good, (hot dogs) for evil (mustard gas), and is featured in religious and cultural idioms ranging from the parables of The Buddha and Jesus Christ to the suspicious and bellicose antics of Colonel Mustard. Gold, it is said, is the eternal element, and mustard, it seems, is the eternal plant.
I bet everyone reading this right now has at least one jar of mustard in their fridge or pantry. Probably it’s good old ball park mustard, or the almost equally ubiquitous Dijon mustard, or a crunchy, grainy mustard, or one of those small, seldom opened jars of HOT mustards, or a tin of mustard powder that looks like it came from a museum. And many of us have all of the above, plus a package or two of mustard seeds, proving one irrefutable fact; we love us our mustard.
Mustard, in short, has a myriad of uses in cuisine, and is not just a condiment to be squirted on a hamburger. Nobody really wants to mess with ketchup, but it is pretty much open season on homemade mustard. Grainy mustards, are super easy to make, and with a little tinkering you are sure to come up with your own version of a triple crunch mustard. We like a variety of seeds in our mustard, and you can buy the seeds in the spice rack at almost all grocery stores. They’re super inexpensive, and come in small bags so you only have to buy what you’re going to use right away. The tiny seeds, 1-2 mm in length, range in colour from white to yellow to black. For a visually stunning mustard, why not try a range of colours?
Here is one of our favourite, simple recipes for homemade mustard by “Hunter Angler Gardener Cook” Hank Shaw. Stored in a charming little jar, or earthenware mustard crock, it keeps for ages in the fridge.
Basic Country Mustard
The one caveat to making mustard at home is to wait. You cannot eat it the day you make it. Mustard needs to marinate to dissipate its bitterness. Try it: Eat a little dab right after you make it, then a day or two later. The difference is dramatic.
Makes about 1 cup.
Prep Time: 12 hours
6 tablespoons mustard seeds
1/2 cup mustard powder
3 tablespoons vinegar (cider, white wine or sherry)
1/2 cup white wine or water
2 teaspoons salt
optional additions include:
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (really any kind)
- Grind the whole mustard seeds for a few seconds in a spice or coffee grinder, or by hand with a mortar and pestle. You want them mostly whole because you are using mustard powder, too.
- Pour the semi-ground seeds into a bowl and add the salt and mustard powder. If using, add one of the optional ingredients, too.
- Pour in the vinegar and wine or water, then stir well. When everything is incorporated, pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge. Wait at least 12 hours before using. Mustard made this way will last several months in the fridge
Rabbit with Mustard Sauce
Have you ever picked up a rabbit from our meat department and wondered what to do with it? Well, wonder no more! This is a great, economical recipe for rabbit adapted from Chez Pannise
2 rabbits (about 2 1⁄2 lbs. each), each cut into 6 to 8 pieces
1⁄2 lb. bacon cut into 1⁄4″-thick strips
1 1⁄2 cups sour cream
3⁄4 cup Dijon or homemade mustard
2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh sage
2 tsp. black or yellow mustard seeds, crushed
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Season rabbit with salt and pepper and place in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix to coat all the pieces. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate on the counter for 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.
2. Bring rabbit to room temperature. Heat oven to 400 F. Divide rabbit in a single layer between 2 shallow roasting pans and top with any of the remaining marinade. Roast the rabbit on middle rack, turning once and basting with pan juices occasionally, until the juices have reduced and rabbit is cooked through, about 55 minutes. Set oven to broil and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Serve rabbit with pan juices.