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The holiday season is upon us! No doubt you’re busy planning what you’re going to cook for celebratory dinners over the next four or five weeks. Most people turn to traditional dishes such as turkey or ham. Some go with a nice crown rib roast. If you’re in the hankering for something other than the ordinary, we have a suggestion for you: have you ever considered rabbit?

Don’t worry, you can admit it. If you’re intimidated at the thought of cooking a rabbit in your own kitchen, you’re not alone! To say that it’s not a common dish nowadays is not an overstatement. Fortunately, Chef Bryce has a great recipe to share with you here.

Before we get started, a note on the rabbit: we use Marshall Farms rabbits from Hastings, Minnesota. If you’re in Minnesota, we highly recommend that you check them out.
 

STEP 1:

Ingredients
2 whole rabbits
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
8 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, whole
2 tomato, medium, roughly chopped
4 thyme sprigs, whole
1 ¼ gallons water
1T. black peppercorns
6 bay leaves
¼ bunch parsley

Preheat oven to 350°F. Break down the rabbit: cut front 2 hind quarters off, bone out the loin (set front and hind quarters and loin aside for later use) and cut remaining carcass into 4 pieces.

Place rabbit carcass in roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Add carrot, celery, onion and garlic roasting for 30 more minutes or until veggies are browned. Remove veggies and rabbit. Place roasted veggies and rabbit in a large stock pot. Add water. Bring to a simmer. Skim off foam.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 4 hours. Strain stock through a fine colander and throw out remaining solids.

STEP 2:

Ingredients
½ medium onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
3 thyme sprigs, whole
½ c. white wine
Rabbit quarters: front and hind, only!  (Do NOT cook the loin with this!)
Rabbit stock (from Step 1)
2- 3 T. olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, for seasoning

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place olive oil in dutch oven. Salt and pepper reserved rabbit quarters and brown in a large dutch oven on medium-high heat, being careful not to burn the rabbit. Remove browned rabbit quarters from pan, place on plate and cover loosely with tin foil. Sauté vegetables in the same pan until veggies are caramelized. Remove vegetable and deglaze pan with white wine. Reduce until almost dry. Return caramelized vegetables and rabbit quarters to dutch oven. Add rabbit stock until ingredients are just covered. (You will have extra rabbit stock. Freeze and save for later use.) Bring to boil. Cover with tight fitting lid and place in oven for 1-1 ½ hours. Remove rabbit, place on a plate and loosely cover with tin foil. Strain and reserve braising liquid. Vegetables can be thrown away or composted.

STEP 3:

Ingredients
Kosher salt
Black pepper, ground
Rabbit quarters (from Step 2)
Rabbit loin (from Step 1)
1 c. cerignola olives (approximately 24), pitted and halved
½ c. sun dried apricot, thinly sliced
¼ c. Italian parsley, finely chopped
4-6 T. butter, cubed

In the dutch oven, reduce braising liquid by half.  Place rabbit quarters and the seasoned uncooked loin in the dutch oven.  Add cerginola olives and apricots to the rabbit.  Cover with lid.  Place on stove top and braise at medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until the loin is cooked (either until the meat thermometer reads 150°F, or it just looks correct) and remove rabbit, place on serving platter and loosely cover with tin foil.  Reduce braising liquid down to 1 c. Add in 4-6 T. butter, Italian parsley and season to taste.  Pour sauce over rabbit.

Serve with gnocchi, pasta, vegetables or on its own.

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