Justin loves to eat rabbit. Whenever we come across it at a restaurant you can be sure he will order it. I am pretty meh about rabbit, it is either too gamey for me (like lamb), or too much like chicken. I also really like to look at fuzzy bunnies on Cuteoverload.com.
With our 2nd anniversary looming, I decided to cook something extra special for my honey, and just bite the bunny-eating bullet. It took a while, but I located local, farm-raised rabbit at Sheridan Fruit Market. (The market, by the way, is amazing! The butchers are friendly and helpful, the dried food section is stunning, the deli delicious, and everything in between reasonably prices and fresh. Gotta love stumbling into neighborhood market that feels like home.)
A butchered, cleaned rabbit ran $7 a pound. Not cheap, but not too bad. Now, all I needed was a recipe. I decided to up the special factor in the meal to use my French cookbook. Something about French cooking says "fancy" to me. :) For our wedding we were given a beautiful cookbook called, the Food of France. It is chock full of wonderful, authentic, yet simple recipes. I decided to try the Rabbit Friassee, rabbit braised with mushrooms, fried sage, and cream. What could be bad?
The dinner was wonderful. We started with Salad Lyonaise, and sopped up the cream sauce with a Pearl Bakery baguette. A bottle of wine rounded it out. Honestly, I thought the rabbit tasted like chicken. I am sure chicken would be a perfect substitute in the dish.
Adapted from The Food of France
2 tablespoon butter, divided
1 rabbit, about 3 lbs, cut into pieces
black pepper and salt
1/2 - 1 lb of small white mushrooms
1 onion, chopped into small bite sized pieces
1/3 cup white wine (we used Pepperwood Viognier)
2/3 cup chicken stock
bouquet garni (I left out the leeks)
1/2 cup heavy cream
small bunch of sage
1/3 cup olive oil
1. In a dutch oven, or other heavy lided pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Season rabbit with salt and pepper. Turn heat down. Brown rabbit over low heat. Because there is no skin, if you do this over high heat the rabbit will develop a tough outer layer.
2. When rabbit is browned remove from pan and set aside. Add the rest of the butter to the pan and add mushrooms and onions. Turn heat up to medium and cook until soft.
3. Put rabbit back into the pot. Add wine, bring to a boil for 1 minute. This will burn off the alcohol.
4. Add stock and bouguet garni. Cover pot and simmer over low heat for about 40 minutes or until the rabbit is no longer pink inside.
5. In the meantime, heat oil in a small sauce pan. Wash and VERY CAREFULLY dry the sage leave. I must stress this. I had a slightly wet sage leave explode hot oil all over everything!
6. When oil is hot, carefully drop in sage leaves. Cook 30 seconds, or until crisp and bright green. Drain on a towel and sprinkle with salt.
7. When the rabbit is cooked through, remove the meat and mushrooms to a serving bowl. Throw out the bouguet garni. Bring sauce up to a boil, boil until reduced 1/3. This will take 2-3 minutes.
8. Take pan off heat and stir in cream. If you are feeling every decadent you can also whisk in 2 egg yolks along with the cream to make the sauce even thicker.
9. Pour sauce over meat and mushrooms, top with fried sage. Bon Appetit!