4 rabbit legs
2 rabbit shouldersde-boned, meat minced
120 g button mushroomsminced
60 g shitake mushroomsminced
1 egg yolk
210 g brown stockalternatively demiglace
30 g Carrotsmedium dice
20 g celerymedium dice
40 g onionsmedium chopped
50 ml dry white wine
40 g raisins
60 g unsalted butter
30 ml cooking oil
60 ml grappa
pepper from the mill
My grandfather has always raised rabbits on his farm, for both sale and for our own use. Growing up, I was introduced to rabbit as an alternative meat to chicken or pork.
A few years ago, at the height of the BSE scandal in Europe and the outbreak of Foot & Mouth disease in some farms, rabbit meat was actively marketed and gained popularity again.
Rabbit has a wonderful tasty, delicate white meat. Depending on the tenderness of the legs they are suitable for pan-frying and roasting, but in general they are best braised to tenderness. The delicate loins are excellent grilled or roasted and in salads. The shoulder have little meat and are mostly boned and the meat used for farce in fillings and terrines.
This braised rabbit recipe of course can easily be done with a chicken leg replacing the rabbit leg if one wishes to do so.
- Soak the raisins overnight in grappa.
- In a sauce pan smother the chopped mushrooms in butter slowly until they have lost all their water and are completely dry. Season and set aside to cool.
- In a bowl over ice, combine the minced shoulder meat with the cooked mushrooms and the egg well. Season to taste and add the chopped herbs.
- Remove the upper leg bone of the rabbit legs by de-boning around the leg from the inside (while leaving the outer skin intact) all the way to the knee joint. The end results needs to be a pocket where later the stuffing will be filled into.
- Trim the lower leg bone of all the meat and clean the bone. Wrap it in Aluminum foil. This will prevent the bone to become dirty during the cooking process.
- Stuff the rabbit beg with the mushroom meat mixture tightly and sew together with needle and butchers thread. Ensure that this is done very tightly as to prevent the stuffing to come out of the leg during the cooking process.
- Season the rabbit leg with salt and pepper from the mill.
- In a sauce pan, heat the vegetable oil, and brown the stuffed rabbit legs evenly on all sides.
- Remove from the pan and in the same pan, add the vegetables and sauté them well.
- De-glaze the vegetables with white wine and add the Demi-glace. Bring to boil, add the rabbit legs and simmer for at least 45 minutes or until the rabbit legs are tender. Remove the rabbit legs and set aside, keeping them warm. Strain the sauce.
- Strain the raisins. Add the grappa to the sauce and bring to boil, and then add the raisins. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce has the correct consistency; then adjust seasoning. Swing in a few nuggets of cold butter.
- Carve the rabbit leg 2-3 times into medallions. Dress the rabbit leg onto the plate and drizzle with the raisin sauce.
Note: As a serving suggestion, in the picture the dish is served with grilled polenta and small, buttered vegetables. For the mushrooms, any fresh mushrooms can be substituted; ceps, chanterelles and morels would be especially delicate.