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Italian-Style Braised Rabbit

Italian-Style Braised Rabbit

This delicious rabbit recipe provides all the flavors of Italy with the healthy benefits of rabbit meat. Enjoy as an early Spring dinner with friends!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Rabbit Stock

  • Ribs, neck, and belly flaps from the rabbit
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, smashed
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, smashed
  • 10 crushed juniper berries
  • 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2` carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 1 rib of celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped

Braised Rabbit

  • 1 large rabbit (4lbs)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 3 leeks, diced finely
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup cremini mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp Porcini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup dry red wine, white wine, or vermouth
  • 1 cup rabbit or chicken stock.
  • 5 tomatoes, chopped into pieces (See notes)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried Rosemary. Can use fresh too.
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme. Can use fresh too.
  • 1 tbsp dried sage. Can use fresh too.
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon. Fresh can be used.
  • 3 large potatoes cut into quarters
  • The rabbit's liver (finely chopped … see notes)
  • 2/3 cups olives (See notes)

Instructions
 

Rabbit Stock

  • Break down the rabbit if it is not already broken down. Separate the front legs, the hind quarters, and the tenderloins. Follow the tutorial that is linked in the blog post above if you do not know how to do this.
  • Put rabbit pieces into medium pot and cover with water. You can also add the good rabbit cuts during this process to blanch them. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
  • Turn off the heat. Skim off any sludge that floats to the top. Fish out the good cuts of rabbit meat and place in a bowl.
  • Leave the other rabbit pieces in the pot. Skim off any remaining foam and impurities that float to the surface. Add remaining stock ingredients to the pot. Partially cover and bring to a barely a simmer.
  • Simmer for a minimum of 1-hour and up to 2.5 hours.
  • Strain all solids from the stock pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible. Set aside. You'll use this stock in your braised rabbit. Leftover stock can be stored in the fridge for a number of days for other uses. Simply skim off any congealed fat before using it.

Braised Rabbit

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper. Add the flour to a paper bag. Put the rabbit pieces in the bag. Seal it and shake to evenly coat the rabbit with flour.
  • Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large, lidded skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, and carrots to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes until slightly soft.
  • Add the leeks and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and sautee for 2 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
  • Place the rabbit pieces in the skillet or Dutch oven and brown on each side. Return the vegetables to the pan. Pour in the wine or vermouth stir and cook for 1-2 minutes until wine is slightly reduced. Add the rabbit stock, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Stir to combine.
  • Add the herbs and black pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Turn off stovetop heat. Add potatoes to top of mixture and stir. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour. You may cook longer if you like up to 2 hours. The meat should be tender.
  • When there is 20 minutes left to your cook time, remove from oven and add the olives and chopped rabbit liver. Put the lid back on the pan and return to the oven to finish cooking.

Notes

TOMATOES:  If you do not have fresh tomatoes, you can use 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes juices drained.

LIVER: This will not make your dish taste like liver at all. You won't even notice the liver. It simply adds more depth and richness of flavor. 
OLIVES: The olives add a bit of tang to the dish. If you don't like olives, you can omit them. 
WINE: I never cook with a wine I wouldn't drink so I try to avoid cooking wine altogether. Just use a bit of the wine you plan to drink with dinner. 
SERVING: As suggested in the above blog post, this will go well with a green salad, green beans, and good bread. But you can be creative about your sides. 
Keyword braised, fancy food, italian food, rabbit