This past weekend while grocery shopping, I noticed some rabbit available at C-Mart. I don't think I've ever seen rabbit sold at any of the mainstream supermarkets around Boston, so this was a bit exciting for me (I know, a very food geeky thing to say). A few months ago on our honeymoon in France, my wife and I enjoyed a rustic rabbit dish, and with the rabbit I picked up, I decided to recreate something similar.
Since it's not widely available, I haven't had a chance to cook rabbit before. The rabbit I purchased was whole, which required some butchering to disassemble the different parts. A few videos I found on YouTube were very helpful, as was an article I found on Saveur's website.
The first step was removing the front legs...
Then removing the hind legs...a helpful tip one of the videos gave was using your hands to manually crack the hip joint and then slice through the joint.
After removing both sets of legs, I separated the loin and saddle and cut them into smaller pieces. A Chinese cleaver is helpful with this task, but a regular chef's nice will do the job as well.
After butchering the rabbit, I seared the pieces in some vegetable oil and then removed them to a separate dish...
I then sweated down some chopped onion, carrot and celery...
I added back the rabbit pieces with some thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, chopped garlic, and oyster mushrooms. I also deglazed the pan with some red wine and poured in a few cups of chicken stock and tomato puree.
The whole pan then went into a 350 degree F oven for about 20-25 minutes.
And here's the final dish again. This was a simple, rustic preparation of rabbit that was easy and quick to prepare and very tasty. The dish brought us right back to France and reminded us a lot of the rabbit we had at L'Ardoise. The only thing I would do differently next time is braise the legs and dark meat (as we did this time) but save the loin and saddle, which are leaner and can dry out, for a different preparation (e.g. roulade via sous vide).