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Rabbit isn’t eaten as much here in the states as it is elsewhere in the world, and it’s a shame as rabbit is a wonderful lean protein. All white meat, extremely low in fat and calories, and rabbit very versatile. Part of the reason for its demise in our culinary world is probably due to Thumper, that cute rabbit in Bambi, I mean, who can eat Thumper? But rabbits, just like chickens, lambs, pigs, and cows are raised for their meat. And we all know how quickly rabbits multiply, so I think it would be safe to say, they not only quickly replenish our food source, they do it with quality, good for you, meat.
this recipe boasts a rich and flavorful sauce with falling off the bone tender moist rabbit
The problem with cooking domestically raised rabbit is due in part to the them being so lean.
Fat makes flavor and tenderness. Take away the fat, and you take away flavor and tenderness. I usually overcome this by making my family’s traditional Hasenpfeffer, or German Wine Braised Rabbit. But to make that properly, you need to marinate the rabbit for a few days at least in an aromatic blend of herbs, spices, onions, garlic, and wine.
I did not plan ahead. So I thought I would try something different, something leaning more to a dish with a Spanish or Italian twist.
This recipe for Stewed Rabbit or Conejo in Spicy Tomato Sauce turned out exactly as I had hoped. Boasting a rich and flavorful sauce with falling off the bone tender moist rabbit; perfect with some oven-baked polenta and fresh from the garden … what else? Baby carrots.
Heat the oven to 350°F.Season the rabbit with salt and pepper and half of the herbes de provence. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat; add the rabbit, in batches as necessary, and brown well on both sides. Remove and set-aside.
Reduce the heat to medium; add the onions and sauté until softened; about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the flour; sauté for 2 - 3 minutes, then add the wine (or vermouth); stir well and simmer until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 - 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining herbs de provence, bay leaf and thyme. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Stir well. Nestle the rabbit into the pot; cover and put in the oven. Ignore for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven. Remove the bay leaves, if whole, and the stems from the thyme sprigs. Untie the rib pieces. If you added enough flour at the beginning, you should have a nice thick sauce, if not, let it simmer a few minutes, uncovered on top of the stove until the sauce has been reduced to your liking. Serve the rabbit on rice, noodles, polenta along with the sauce.
LindySez: If you really can’t bring yourself to try rabbit, you could make this dish with chicken. I would remove the skin prior to cooking it as the skin would just turn soft and rubbery in the cooking liquid, so why spend the calories on something that is not good to eat?
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