Braised Rabbit

A variation of Martha Stone’s recipe

  • 1 whole rabbit (3 to 3½ pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons fat (may be butter, meat fat, or oil, but no more than half butter—Martha used chicken fat, edible South Shore used bacon fat and olive oil)
  • 3 tablespoons fl our (Martha uses arrowroot, for gluten-free diners)
  • 1 large onion, fi nely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, fi nely diced
  • 2 carrots, fi nely diced
  • 1½ cups sliced rhubarb, optional
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • tied in square of cheesecloth: 2 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons brown mustard seed, 1 teaspoon pepper corns, 1 teaspoon juniper berries, 1 teaspoon dried thyme or a branch fresh thyme
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons organic unsalted butter

Cut rabbit into serving portions (4 legs, body cut lengthwise once and crosswise twice for 6 pieces. Head, heart, and kidneys add flavor to braise, but you’ll remove and discard before fi nishing sauce. Use the liver for paté, if desired.)

Dredge rabbit pieces in fl our, and brown slowly in fat over medium-low heat in a large pan with a close-fitting lid. Martha points out that slow browning, and the gradual addition of ingredients, are what build the fl avor in your braise.

When the meat is nicely browned on all sides, add the onion and cook slowly until translucent. Next, the celery, and more

slow cooking, and last, the carrot. Continue cooking until vegetables are taking on some good color. If you are using rhubarb, stir it in now.

Add wine and stock to cover (top up with water if necessary) so that rabbit is just submerged. Add spice bag and bring to a

simmer. Cover and simmer very gently for about two hours, or until a fork easily penetrates meat of hind leg. Remove head, heart, kidneys, and spice bag. Place rabbit pieces on heated dish and keep warm. Over high heat, reduce the braising liquid by half. Grind in some pepper. Taste for salt and sweet/tart balance and correct. Swirl in butter, and serve with egg noodles or potatoes and seasonally appropriate vegetables.

Serves 4.

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