"Rabbit is a very lean, high-protein meat that is easily digested. This recipe for Non-Traditional Rabbit Curry stews the rabbit in a highly flavored combination of Indian and Thai curries turning the meat into a lovely, fall off the bone tender, mouthfuls of deliciousness. You can, of course, use chicken in place of the rabbit."
The Making of a Non-Traditional Rabbit Curry
When it comes to cooking, I am not a traditionalist. I have no qualms mixing cuisines together. Even when I make "traditional" German recipes, such as Hasenpfeffer, or My Mother's Rouladen, I am making them my way. The way I like them. So when I decided to make something with rabbit that was not Hasenpfeffer, I thought I would turn to a curry.
My first instinct was to go Indian. I wanted to call this dish "Hare Krishna" ... you know, for the airport chanters. So thinking along these lines I started with some of the more common ingredients in an Indian curry. Curry powder, cumin, cayenne, turmeric...kind of with a nod to my Chicken and Lamb Vindaloo. But as I continued to taste and develop the sauce, it seems a bit...IDK...boring.
Rabbit in itself tends to be rather bland...or at least domestic rabbit you can purchase. If you hunt, well then, I think your rabbit would have much more flavor. But not being a flavor powerhouse does not negate the health benefits of rabbit. Rabbit is lean. Low-fat. Low-calorie. High protein. Easy to digest. Need I say more? But with rabbit as a blank canvas, the sauce had to be really full of flavor. So I'm tasting and thinking.
What can I do to make this sauce really sing?
So I added 2 tablespoons of Thai Red Curry Paste, I use Thai Kitchen, and then, at the end to soften the flavors, just a touch of coconut milk.
A perfect blending of two cuisines.
At least I think so. And BB agreed.
I cooked this down a bit more once I took it from the oven so it was a really thick sauce to coat the rabbit. I think, in the future, I will add a little more chicken stock back to it so I have a bit more sauce.
When I cook a whole rabbit anymore, I only use the front and back legs, reserving the body for another use. I'm thinking of some sort of roll-up but haven't quite got it figured in my brain yet, but I think it would work really well as the body is so much thinner and has less meat. But if you want to use the body, cut it in half along the spine, and then roll the meat up into a cylinder, tying it with cooking string. That way it will cook evenly with the larger legs.
So now I've added another delicious rabbit dish to my repertoire.
Of course, if you don't want to use rabbit, feel free to substitute chicken thigh/leg pieces. Be sure to remove the skin first!
Wine Recommendation: Believe it or not, we tried two different wines with this dish, a light red (Grenache) and a Riesling. Both worked wonderfully, for different reasons. The Riesling was refreshing to the back heat of the curry, and the Grenache brought out some of the deeper flavors. So whichever wine you choose, it will probably be "good to go" with this non-traditional dish.
Non-Traditional Rabbit Curry
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 1 teaspoon Ghee or unsalted butter
- 1 domestic rabbit cut into serving pieces (if you use the back along with the legs, then roll them into a tight roll and tie with cooking string)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large onion chopped, divided (about 1 ½ cups total)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger about a 2-inch piece
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic about 6 large cloves
- 1 tablespoon good curry powder such as Madras, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 - 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste start with 1 and add to taste, depending on how spicy you like
- 2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ to ⅓ cup coconut milk
- Chopped fresh cilantro for serving, if desired
- Cooked Basmati rice for serving (optional)
- Heat the oven to 350°F. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt the ghee and oil together. Sprinkle the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add the rabbit and brown well on both sides, about 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from the pot to a plate.
- While the rabbit is browning, pulse half the onion, ginger, and garlic together in a food processor until finely minced.
- After the rabbit has browned, reduce the heat under the pot; add the remaining chopped onion. Cook for about 5 minutes or until golden. Add your processed aromatics to the pot; sauté for 2 - 3 minutes, then stir in the curry powder, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 or so minutes, then stir in the Thai curry paste and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven to cook for 1 ½ hours.
- Remove the pot from the oven; stir in the coconut milk. Taste and adjust for seasonings, adding a bit more chicken broth if you want a bit more sauce. Serve over rice with optional chopped cilantro.