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“Braised Rabbit with Olives & Preserved Lemon”

Raise your hand if you have rabbit or chicken in your freezer.

Great! Let’s talk.

I am about to embark on a hunting spree. Elk in Wyoming, Javelina in El Paso, Pheasant in South Dakota, Partridge in England, Snowshoe Rabbit in Alaska, Squirrel in… where should I hunt squirrel? I hear they really know how to do it in Kentucky.

And all the while I’ll be cooking up recipes for my next book. This is a sneak peak at a braised rabbit recipe I have been working on.

Did you know that the rabbit family, Lagomorpha, is one of the oldest mammal families known? In Asia and North America, fossilized remains have been found dating back 50 million years. It is represented often in prehistoric art and was a significant food source for prehistoric people in the United States.

Braising is one of my favorite techniques with rabbit and with game meat in general because the meat just falls off the bone in a luscious kind of way. I don’t think I’ve ever consumed anything braised that wasn’t delicious. But it lends itself especially well to game meat, which contains less fat and more muscle tissue.

This braised venison recipe for instance, is a good example of braising in all its glory.

In true French form, this braised rabbit is a multi-step process, but it is worth it. The marinade will help tenderize the meat and that little bit of flour gives the meat a thick browned coating.

And on the days that you don’t have rabbit, chicken will make a very nice substitute. Here is the step-by-step photo show to help you along:

These are some of the things you will need. It seems like a lot, I know. It’s how the French roll it seems, but the flavors are really worth it. You can always pare it down if you want, it’s the braising that is magic.

You’ll start by quartering the rabbit and setting the carcass aside for roasting. That will reinforce the flavor of your sauce.

You’ll then add the quartered pieces on the bottom of the bowl, covered by the vegetables, garlic and bouquet garni.

Then in goes the wine! I love wine in food. Almost more than I do on its own. I know that is sacrilege.

You can disown me now.

Let it marinate.

And macerate.

And stew.

Then remove the meat, set it aside on a plate and pat it dry.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour on one side.

Git yer skillet nice ‘n hot.

With buttah. There’s nothing like a hot skillet coated with butter. There isn’t.

Lay the pieces down, flour side facing the pan.

Then add salt and pepper and flour to the naked side.

Then flip over once it’s well browned.

Set it aside on a plate when both sides are browned.

Add more butter to the skillet and add the veggies.

Sprinkle them with a bit of flour as well.

Then some tomato paste.

Then a bit of vinegar to jazz things up.

Then the marinade that everything was soaking in earlier.

Let it all reduce to a thicker consistency.

Things will start to smell pretty intoxicating at this point.

Add the meat back into the pan.

Next comes the chicken stock. I had this in my freezer from one of my Sunday roasted chickens, but you can used the canned stuff too.

If the bones have been roasting, now is the time to take them out and add them to the mix to reinforce the flavor.

Cover her up, lower the temp and walk off for a bit.

This is what it will look like once it’s been stewing for a while.

When the meat is tender to the bone, add the preserved lemons and parsley.

Remember when we preserved Meyer lemons together for a rainy day? Here’s another way to use them.

And then you serve it up, simple as can be on a plate.

It will taste just as good the second day. And also days after that. It’s the braise that keeps on giving.

Give it a try!

“Braised Rabbit with Olives & Preserved Lemon”

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

“Braised Rabbit with Olives & Preserved Lemon”

Ingredients

    For the Marinade:
  • 1 whole rabbit, quartered, loins removed and rack chopped into large pieces
  • ½ large onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1” pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Bouquet garni of 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig thyme, 1 sprig rosemary, and 1 sprig parsley
  • ½ bottle white wine
  • For the Braising:
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Peel of ½ preserved lemon, julienned
  • ¼ cup nicoise, kalamata or other mixed olives
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped

Instructions

    For the Marinade:
  1. Combine all ingredients except the rack of rabbit in a bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least one hour.
  2. For the Braising:
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Lightly grease the rabbit rack, place on a sheet tray, and roast for 20 – 25 minutes or until well browned.
  5. In a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter.
  6. Remove the meat from the marinade, pat dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour.
  7. Place the rabbit legs, skin side down, along with the loins in the skillet until well browned. Turn over and brown the other side. Remove from the pan.
  8. Add the vegetables from the marinade to the pan, and lightly caramelize in the same fat. Sprinkle with flour, stir and let cook for a few minutes.
  9. Add the tomato paste and cook for another few minutes.
  10. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and reserved marinade, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan, and reduce the liquid until the sauce is thick.
  11. Return the legs to the skillet, skin side up, along with the loins and roasted rack.
  12. Add the chicken stock and bouquet garni, cover and let simmer for about 1 hour until the legs are tender.
  13. Turn off the heat and add the preserved lemon, olives and chopped herbs, stir and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
http://georgiapellegrini.com/2010/10/14/recipes/braised-rabbit-with-olives-preserved-lemon/

 

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Remember way back when I made my national citrus fruit appeal? Actually I think it was a global citrus fruit appeal. Well either way it was epic, okay? Remember when I then preserved some Meyer lemons for a rainy day? Well today is that rainy day. Even though it’s sunny. It’s high time we use …