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Lapin (Rabbit) au Vin

I picked up a three pound brick of frozen rabbit at the commissary--couldn't resist, since I went through fourteen rabbits at school for my final demo and I've liked rabbit ever since. It languished in the freezer for over a month before I got around to transferring it to the fridge for a three day defrost. My neighbor also loves rabbit so I invited him over.

Once thawed, it was a good size rabbit with all four leg quarters and a split saddle--well butchered with only a little fat and silver skin. Beautiful. So, what to do with it. Think coq au vin. Switch out the rooster for the rabbit, skip the tomato and you have a recipe. You'll need your Dutch oven for this braising mission.

Rabbit au vin

Yield: 4 servings
See Abbreviations, if needed

1 farm raised rabbit, cut in five or six pieces
½C AP flour
S/P to taste, but it needs salt and lot of ground pepper
6-8 small potatoes, fork pierced
4-6 large shallots peeled and quartered (red onion OK)
¾C red wine
2-3C chicken broth low salt
1 sachet (herb and spice bag) of pepper corns, thyme and bay leaves,
parsley stems and a few juniper berries, if you have them
1C dried prunes
1. Remove fat and silver skin from the rabbit pieces
2. Season them generously with S/P
3. Dredge them in flour
4. In a large Dutch oven (DO), add the EVOO and heat to moderate high
5. Brown the meat nicely on all sides, then remove and set aside
6. With a wooden spoon, scrape loose the residue from browning
7. Bring the DO to high, add the red wine, stir and reduce for a few minutes
8. Return the browned rabbit pieces to the DO
9. Add the potatoes, shallots, prunes and sachet
10. Add the chicken broth to a level about half way up the highest piece of rabbit
11. BTB, cover and reduce heat to a low simmer
12 Braise for about 1.5 hours--fork test for tenderness and braise another half
hour if not already about to fall off the bone
14. Carefully transfer all from the DO to a heated serving dish
15. Over high heat, reduce the braising liquid to make sauce
16. Pour sauce into a heated gravy boat
17. Serve on heated plates with a good bread to mop up the sauce
Note: Deborah Krasner's Good Meat -The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat has a great chapter on rabbit, with lots of recipes.


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