For a few years now there’s been talk of “sustainable” sources of fish, produce and meat. Today I ask you to consider the rabbit – mild in flavour (like chicken), lean, healthy (no skin) , sustainable and delish. Before I get any comments from the Philistines, the rabbit you see in recipes is not “Fluffy” at the pet store but farmed for consumption.
My earliest recollection of eating rabbit was back in 1974 when I visited Greece for the first time. There were rabbits in a barn and although back then I thought they were pets, I soon found out they’d be used for sustenance. The most popular Greek dish with rabbit is Stifado…a stew of rabbit, wine, vinegar, spices and lots of onions. Tomatoes are the base of the sauce and this stew simmers until the sauce is rich and the rabbit meat just falls off the bone. Stifado is sublime when using a wild hare or jack rabbit (love to get some from any local hunters).
Today’s recipe goes in another direction, a light brown sauce that’s perfumed with thyme, bay leaves and slices of orange peel. There’s also onions, garlic, wine and stock and some carrots for some sweetness balanced by savory mushrooms.. This dish is a wonderful winter meal: oranges in season, rabbit plentiful and delish!
Braised Rabbit With Mushrooms and Orange
1 whole rabbit, butchered into piece
coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
the peel of 1/2 orange, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2-3 bay leaves
2 tsp. of fresh thyme leaves
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into rounds
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 – 1 1/2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse your rabbit and pat-dry. Season with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in flour. Place a large skillet on your stovetop and add the oil. Over medium-high heat, brown both sides of your rabbit pieces then reserve.
- Now add the onions, garlic, carrots, bay leaves, thyme and stir. Add some salt and pepper and stir in then sweat for 5-6 minutes. Now add the tomato paste and stir-in and cook for a minute.
- Now the rabbit pieces go back in the sklllet along with the wine and enough stock to come up halfway up the meat. Bring up to a boil then reduce to simmer and place the lid on (slightly ajar) and cook for about 45 minutes or until the rabbit is fork-tender. Remove the lid and simmer uncovered until the sauce has thickened and adjust seasoning one last time with salt and pepper.
- Serve on a bed of hilopites (Greek egg noodles) and pair with Carras Limnio white from Halkidiki.
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