I had a rabbit from my pals at Yellowtree Farms. I kept referring to it as a bunny, which, considering I was always referring to it as food, made me sound sinister. Bunnies are cute. And they are delicious. Sorry, bunnies!!
I told a chef friend of mine I had a bunny, and that I had never cooked rabbit. His girlfriend recommended this recipe from Cooking Light heartily. I love that it's filled with bunnies' favorite vegetables... turnips and carrots. Man, why am I taking so much delight in the slight wrongness of cooking and eating something so adorable? Also, as I was prepping, I kept telling my cat, Noodles, that the "noodles" part of the dish meant him. It didn't phase him. I do it every time I cook noodles. He finds the joke tiresome. I don't think cats can roll their eyes, but I can see him trying.
The dish was really tasty. Comforting, like chicken and dumplings, with some neat flavors from tarragon, cloves and the spicy, bitter turnips. A perfect winter dish. I veered from some of the refined steps in the recipe, as noted below. Happy bunny eating!
Rabbit à la Moutard
From Cooking Light
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 cup coarsely chopped peeled turnip ( I used closer to 2 cups...)
1 cup chopped peeled carrot
1 (3-pound) rabbit, cut into 8 pieces (mine was probably only 2 lbs.)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 thyme sprigs (I subbed 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
2 whole cloves (I subbed 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups chopped leek
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth or stock
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives ( I skipped these completely)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
12 ounces fettuccine or egg noodles
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Stir in turnip and carrot; sauté 12 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove vegetables from pan; set aside.
3. Sprinkle both sides of rabbit evenly with salt and pepper. Add 2 1/4 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of rabbit; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove rabbit from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 1/4 teaspoons oil and rabbit. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel.
4. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add leek, celery, shallots, and garlic; sauté 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add wine, bay leaf, cloves, thyme; bring to a boil. Stir in broth and stone-ground mustard; return rabbit to pan. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until rabbit is done.
5. Remove rabbit from bones; shred with 2 forks. Discard bones. Strain cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl; discard solids (I put about half of the leeks back into the broth...I hate wasting leeks!). Return meat and cooking liquid to pan. Stir in reserved turnip mixture, Dijon mustard, and cream; bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender and liquid is slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in chives, parsley, and tarragon.
6. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Place about 1 cup hot cooked noodles in each of 6 shallow bowls, and divide rabbit mixture evenly among servings.