Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Greg's Roast Rabbit with Mushrooms

Greg went rabbit hunting last Saturday and brought back 2 rabbits, which we enjoyed this evening in the following recipe. He created this recipe based on an old one from an English friend -- her recipe called for several ingredients that weren't available at our local grocery store, so Greg simply modified the recipe to work with ingredients we could get. The key to this recipe -- especially if you're using wild rabbits instead of store-bought farm-raised bunnies -- is to brine the rabbits for at least 1 day. Brining draws out the gaminess and tenderizes the meat. Greg brined his rabbits for 2 days in a basic brine and then followed this recipe, and the results were fabulous!

2 Tbs butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 rabbits, jointed and brined at least overnight in a basic brine
24 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
Red wine, enough to cover the rabbits once in roasting pan (amount depends on the size of your roasting pan)
Olive oil for braising
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
Black pepper, to taste

Remove rabbit pieces from brine, rinse briefly in running water and pat dry with paper towels to get as dry as possible. Pour enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of a frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Braise the rabbit joints in the olive oil with garlic and black pepper, turning the pieces every few minutes and cooking until the rabbit is browned on all sides. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove rabbit joints from frying pan and place them in your roasting pan. Cover with sliced mushrooms, rosemary and thyme, and set aside. Deglaze the frying pan with just enough red wine to loosen up the pieces of garlic, etc. left in the frying pan. Add butter to the mixture in the frying pan and melt at medium heat. Pour this sauce over the rabbit & mushrooms in the roasting pan, and add additional red wine until the rabbit pieces are mostly covered. Cover the roasting pan and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Check for doneness (the meat is tender and starts to draw away from the bone), and remove from oven once cooked through. Let sit for 10 minutes, then serve with a side of rice (wild rice is ideal, but brown or regular white will work) and a tossed salad or other greens. Serves 2.

Zestfully yours,

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