Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recipe: Braised rabbit

For me, one of the joys of eating locally is the opportunity to try new things. This week's adventure was rabbit. I happened upon this opportunity through Garden Gate Delivery, a local food grocery delivery service operated by my friend Marlo.

Curious about rabbit farming, I emailed Timothy Haws at Autumn's Harvest Farm in Romulus, NY, the farm that provided the rabbit.  Here's what he said: 

"This is our first year raising rabbits to sell. In the past we have raised them for ourselves, but have never offered them to the public. The rabbits we sell our very different from the ones raised in commercial rabbit farms and we had to work out some kinks before we could begin selling them. On commerical rabbit farms the rabbits are raised in small cages under artificial lighting without ever experiencing the joys of sunlight, grass or digging. We have worked diligently utilizing heritage breed rabbits that can go outside on pasture as they we intended to without getting sick. They build nests outside and that's where they raise there young. I feel that rabbit has gained alot of popularity for its many health benefits over other meats, such as it being much lower in cholesterol than other meats."

A 3-pound frozen rabbit occupied my freezer for weeks before I mustered the effort necessary to figure out what to do with it. I have to admit - I was intimidated by the fact that it was whole, and I didn't know how to cut it.  I found these instructions from Saveur Magazine and modified a recipe from to create braised rabbit with a light mustard sauce.  If that's not your style, check out the links to more recipes below.  

Recipe: Braised Rabbit
As usual, this recipe comes with a strong disclaimer that I only follow the gist of recipes, so please just use this as inspiration.  Fiddle as needed.

Cut one 3-lb rabbit into pieces.  Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in skillet over medium-high heat and brown rabbit pieces on each side (just place each piece in the pan, don't overcrowd the pan, and wait for about 3 minutes, then flip pieces).  Move browned pieces to a clean roasting pan.

Place 1 or 2 large chopped onions into skillet, add a few tablespoons butter, and about 1/2 tsp thyme.  When onion is translucent, add about a cup of white wine and boil until reduced to about half.  Mix in about 2 tablespoons of high quality mustard.

Add sauce to roasting pan (liquid should come about halfway up the meat, if it doesn't you can add a little broth or water).  Cover tightly with foil and braise in oven for about 45 minutes. 


Or try these these recipes (suggested by Marlo at Garden Gate):

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