Apple Wine Braised Rabbit
Here's a tasty recipe for rabbit I made the other night. I made some rabbit a few nights prior, using a recipe I pulled from Jamie Oliver's Italian cookbook. I didn't really care for it, but that was most likely due to me simply not being partial to a citrus based marinade rather than any shortcoming with the recipe, as I had seen rave reviews of that particular Oliver recipe.
In any event, as I had a couple rabbits awaiting the table I decided to go the route I almost always enjoy most, and that is coming up with my own recipe. So, I made a quick inventory of what we had in the cupboards and fridge, and then decided to use some of our still unbottled apple wine as the foundation for the marinade.
I snapped some fairly awful pictures of the process, feeling confident that the dish would turn out well. It did in fact come out wonderfully. No doubt this recipe would work well for just about any small game mammal or bird.
Here we go:
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- few tbl EV olive oil
- Almost a whole stick butter
- Kosher salt
- 2-3 cups apple wine
- 2 rabbits, quartered
- 1 cayenne pepper
- few strips of salt preserved lemon
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 tsp Pimenton (smoked paprika)
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 big onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- small bunch cilantro, chopped
- some rosemary sprigs
- 1-2 tbl fresh ginger, grated
- 1 lime
- 1 cup canned tomato or puree
- tbl peppercorns
- tbl fennel seed
1. Grind the peppercorns and fennel seed in a coffee grinder or mortar & pestle, add around a tbl of rosemary leaves and continue to grind til well pulverized and mixed.
2. Make a marinade with the apple wine by adding the pepper/fennel/rosemary mix, the grated ginger, cilantro, juice of one lime, Pimenton and a couple pinches Kosher salt. Pour it over the rabbits and let it sit for at least a couple hours, stirring it around every so often.
3. After letting the rabbits soak in the wine bath it's time to get down to business. Heat 1/2 stick butter and a tbl olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook til they start to soften a bit. (If I had had celery on hand I would have added that to the mix as well...next time.)
4. Add the coconut milk, cider vinegar, tomato puree, lemon zest and cayenne pepper and continue to cook.
5. Take the rabbit out of the marinade and dry it off. Add the marinade to the stewing veggie mix, making sure to get all the spices at the bottom of the bowl.
6. Heat rest of butter and tbl olive oil in another large skillet over medium high. Add a bit of salt and pepper to the flour and dust the rabbit pieces in it.
7. Brown the rabbit on each side in the oil/butter.
8. Add the remainder of the flour to the veggie skillet and stir it in well.
9. Add the browned rabbit pieces to the veggie skillet and cook over medium to medium low until the rabbit is cooked through and tender, around 45 minutes or so. Turn the rabbit pieces over after 25-30 minutes. The sauce will reduce and thicken.
10. We plated it with some of the sauce/marinade and served with a small salad of greens and some garlic mashed potatoes (sweet potato/russet potato mix).
11. Our friend Pat joined us for dinner, pronouncing on facebook, "This was very good! I only remember having rabbit once before and it was fried in an Air Force dining hall. This was tender. The garlic mashed potato/sweet potatoes were excellent too." Pat brought a six-pack of Leinies Amber Bock, which looked and tasted great with the meal.
12. For desert we had a little shot of the rosemary peach noyau I made last summer. Candy alcohol heaven.