June 13, 2012 by E.
Although I’ve eaten rabbit a handful of times in various restaurants in the US, France, and Italy, I’ve never cooked it. It’s the only meat I’ve ever eaten, but not cooked. As someone who fancies herself as a rather decent home chef, with aspirations of perhaps even making transitions into a restaurant kitchen, this is simply unacceptable. Plus, sometime in the middle of the week, a rabbit craving hit me. I rarely eat meat anymore (consider me a wayward vegetarian?), much less crave it, so I listened to the whim of my stomach and ventured to Eastern Market this past Sunday, hoping for a stroke of luck.
Success! Whole rabbit for $6.49 a pound. Mine came to a total of 2.67 pounds, so I handed over my cash and proceeded to consider how to cook it. Rabbit is quite possibly the leanest meat available for consumption, so I knew braising was my only option. A little marinade never hurt anything, either, and since I had the time (my only other commitment on this Sunday being to the gigantic pile of laundry beginning to conquer my closet), I went with it. Brussels sprouts have to be among my favorite vegetables – I love to caramelize them until they have a nice salty/sweet combination, and I think they work very well as a side for the braised rabbit.
This recipe is entirely my own, and I have to say – I’m rather proud of it! However, I do realize that rabbit isn’t a widely available ingredient, nor is it a flavor that everyone loves. This recipe and preparation would work equally well for chicken thighs.
Read more to see the recipe.
For the Marinade
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 cup fennel ferns
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
For the Rabbit
1 pound of rabbit meat (breast or thighs, bone-in)
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 carrot, cubed
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 cup of white wine (whatever kind you happen to have on hand)
1 cup of chicken stock
1 cup of water
Prepare the marinade. Gather all ingredients. Place rabbit into a large mixing bowl or baking dish.
Add all marinade ingredients to bowl with the rabbit, and stir to combine.
Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours and up to 8. (Mine marinated for about 3 hours.)
When rabbit is done marinating (or when you’re ready to start cooking it), heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot (that has a lid). Once oil is shimmering, remove rabbit from the bowl and add to pan to sear.
Cook for 5-7 minutes, until rabbit is golden brown.
Flip rabbit over and sear for 5-7 minutes on the other side, until golden brown. Remove rabbit from pot and set aside. Add more oil to the pan if necessary. Lower heat to medium and add garlic, carrots, onion, and fennel. Cook for 10 minutes until veggies are tender and onions are translucent. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for 3 minutes.
Deglaze the pan by adding wine. Cook for a minute until some of the alcohol has dissolved. Add chicken stock and water as necessary to cover the vegetables. Return chicken to the pot, and add enough liquid so that rabbit is mostly covered.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 2 and a half hours, until rabbit is fall-off-the-bone tender.
Remove rabbit from the pot and enjoy!