Sandi is blogging from the WhistleStop Cafe kitchen. It's all about good home cooking; food, family and fun. Thousands of posts . . .

~In the south and around the world.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Sunday Slow Suppers ~Rabbit

This week was PalmaBella's turn to pick our Sunday Supper. We all knew that Palma would choose something fantastic, and something very Italian. True to her reputation, she picked a dish of roasted rabbit with fennel.

You can imagine the search for rabbit... I would have liked to get that wrascally wrabbit who ate the leaves off of my hosta. No such luck.
So instead~ I decided I would be wearing the rabbit and cooking chicken thighs.
Here is Palma's recipe"
Coniglio al Forno con Finoccio
2 1/2-2 3/4 lb rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
or 8 chicken thighs
Seasoning the Rabbit
1 large clove of garlic (I used 4)
1 1/2 inch sprig of rosemary (I used 4)
1/2 t. salt (I'm sure I used a t. of sea salt)
1/8 t. pepper (you got it)
Cooking the Rabbit
2 bulbs fennel cut into 1 1/2 " wedges
1 large onion, cut into 1 1/2 " wedges
3 oz. pancetta, minced
3 cloves of garlic, split
1 t. fennel seeds
1/2 c. coarsely chopped fennel leaves
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 c. white wine
Pan Sauce
1/4 c. white wine
1/2 c. chicken stock

The rabbit or chicken tastes best when seasoned one day ahead. I blended the first four ingredients in the food processor with a drizzle of olive oil to make a paste. Rub on the rabbit pieces, and refrigerate overnight in a ziplock.

Two hours and 15 minutes before you would like to eat, preheat the oven to 350. Use a roasting pan or baking dish large enough to hold the rabbit pieces and onions and fennel. Scatter fennel, onion, pancetta, garlic, and fennel seeds around and between the pieces, and put half the fennel leaves on top. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast 30 minutes.

Add wine, and roast for another hour. Baste every 15 minutes with pan juices. If pan becomes too dry, add a little more wine or water. (Mine was nice and juicy.)

Raise the heat to 450. Cook 15 more minutes until rabbit becomes golden brown. Turn rabbit pieces, and roast another 15 minutes, basting once more. Veggies should be caramelized.

Transfer rabbit and vegetables to a heated platter and keep warm in the oven while you make a quick pan sauce. Set the roasting pan over two burners on high heat, and deglaze with the wine and stock. Scrape any brown pieces from pan and boil down liquid to about half. (Be careful of heat level if you are using a pyrex pan). Deglaze for 3-5 minutes. Scatter remaining fennel leaves over rabbit and serve sauce in gravy boat or bowl alongside rabbit.
You definitely can reduce the oil to 2 T.. Chicken is more juicy than rabbit, so you should not need to add any liquid. I only baste once, not every 15 minutes. Have a small pan ready on the stove for juices. Remove rabbit/chicken, and veggies to platter, and pour remaining juices in to reduce with a splash or wine or chicken broth. It is easier to manage than a large baking dish on the two burners. You may cut the recipe in half , but you WILL WANT leftovers! If you want, you can skip the pan sauce all together. I love this with grilled veggies and lemon-garlic orzo."
The smell in the kitchen was A-mazing! We had ours with brown rice and a salad and it was really great. Don't be intimidated by the rabbit~ chicken thighs were just fine.
Thanks Palma!
Y'all enjoy~


lululu said...

I've always wanted to cook rabbit. Don't know why though I never start doing it!
Looking at your super simple recipe, it's time for me to get going!

Dar said...

I will be sharing this recipe with my brother who raises domestic rabbit for his table. He was just asking if I had any recipe for rabbit and now I do, thanks to you. It sounds wonderful with the fennel.
Thanks for sharing

Kat said...

My grandmother used to cook rabbit. Loved it then...not sure I could do it now though. The recipe sounds delish, but I would do the chicken too.


Noni at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Sandi, I so wish I could be knocking on your door on Sunday afternoons! Your dishes always look and sound soooo good. We raised rabbits when I was young and I remember it as being a delicious treat. I'd love the chicken thighs, but hubby won't even think about eating dark meat. I'll have to enjoy them vicariously through your blog. =(

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Lululu~ This is very simple... a great place to start
Dar~ make sure he shares with you!
Kat~ They don't carry rabbit at the piggly wiggly or at publix... the chicken was great!
Noni~ we've always got something on the stove~ come on by!

Mama Holli said...

I have linked your blog up on in the "Mama Can Cook" Flock! I hope it brings you some traffic! I love your recipes! Coming back for more!

Miss Anne said...

Fabulous - the fur and the recipe darling! I've recently started cooking more rabbit at home - I have encountered some resistance from my beloved, who after trying, now refuses to eat it with the bones still in (too hoppity). The first time I cooked it was with the same flavours you have here - braised fennel, pancetta (I thought it was delicious). The next time, I made rabbit and mushroom pie - wrap it butter pastry and they'll eat anything!

Palma said...

Looks great, but the photos are the BEST!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

Holli~ Thanks for linking me up... looks like fun.
Miss Anne~ I think you are right. Wrap it in butter and pastry and they will eat anything.
Palma~ I couldn't find the rabbit, I wore one instead!

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