I bought the rabbit by mistake. I was procuring a nice free-range chicken when I saw a whole rabbit at the local poultry counter in the North Market. I gawked when I saw that the price was about $2 a pound. The skinny little critter could be mine for under $5. I hadn’t the slightest concept what I’d do with it, but when faced with such remarkable prices, why even worry? Quicker than I could I have possibly imagined, I uttered a line that I’m pretty sure I never thought I'd say, “I'll take that rabbit.”
The joke was on me. Those numbers I saw were for the pounds, not the price per pound, but when you’ve got a nicely wrapped rabbit in your hands there is no time to send it back. Back home I tried to figure out what to do with it. The traditional addition of mustard sounded delicious, but I had already convinced Abby to eat the rabbit, so it wouldn't have been nice to douse it with an ingredient she didn’t particularly like.
I did have red wine, and finally settled on a fairly standard braise. It’s not a especially difficult recipe, and I felt a little guilty that I wasn’t taking advantage of the unique characteristics of the rabbit. But that was the least of my worries. Once I had unwrapped the plastic casing, I realized I’d need to chop this guy up, too. And how was I going to do that?
Oddly, the Joy of Cooking had no reference, and neither did Cook’s Illustrated. All I could find was a photo on flickr that showed how all the different parts of the rabbit looked when properly chopped apart. I began right away.
This doesn't even come close to the perfection and cleanliness exhibited in the master photo. But for not having the slightest clue what I was doing, I'm rather impressed with myself. Ends up the legs of the creature are fairly similar to those of a chicken. I had no problem hacking them off. The trouble came with the breast and the fillets. The breast meat is awfully thin, and I didn't even know there were tender portions running along the back, much like the chicken tenderloin. I probably would have thrown both pieces away if I didn't have the photo to guide me. It was my good luck. They were the most tender parts.
Braised Rabbit in Red Wine
- 1 Rabbit
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup wine
- 1 stem of rosemary
Pour the oil in a large cast iron pan. Turn the heat to medium and then add the carrots and onion. When softened, remove with a slotted spoon.
Sprinkle some flour on the rabbit pieces.
Place them in the pan and brown on both sides.
Remove the rabbit pieces. Add the wine, and scrap up in pieces stuck to the bottom. Then toss the rabbit back in along with the carrots and onion.
Bring the sauce to a simmer, and let cook for about 30 minutes.
When done, remove the rabbit, and then strain the sauce into another skillet. Reduce over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until thick and delicious.Rabbit, Rabbit, Red Wine, Wine