The rustic style of Italian home cooking with pure, good seasonal ingredients has always been my favorite. Combing ingredients that grow together in harmony meld together seamlessly always resulting in magical creations that link the land, people and traditions. Simplicity of ingredients, freshness, centuries old combinations typical to la cucina Italiana have won people over creating perhaps the most well known cuisine in the world.
In implementing the Italian way of thinking in the kitchen to create a recipe one finds comfort in knowing there is really no wrong way of creating a wonderful dish. Combing simple technique, building flavors, patience and the love of great food will lend to creating something you will enjoy and be proud of.
Rabbit is not typically found on menus in the western world. People tend to gravitate more towards familiar ingredients like chicken. The fact is rabbit is absolutely incredible to cook and eat. Preparations are virtually identical to beef, poultry or otherwise. Not unlike chicken for example, rabbit can be grilled, fried, baked or braised all with amazing results.
This simple recipe preparation results in a decadent, rich, tender rabbit meat with a sublime complex finish... truly out of this world.
1 fresh rabbit, cut in pieces
2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs cleaned and chopped
4 shallots or 1 onion finely diced
10-12 cremini mushrooms, cut in half
1 red bell pepper coarsely chopped
1 small bunch each of thyme, sage and rosemary
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 cup of white wine
4 cups quick rabbit stock ( rabbit bones with 1 celery stalk, 1 carrot, 1 bay leave and 1 small onion...bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes)
All purpose flour for dredging
Salt and pepper , to taste
Olive oil for frying
2 Boiled and roasted chestnuts
2 Tbsp heavy cream
Truffle oil to finish
This recipe can be served over pasta, rice or in this case, creamy polenta.
Once the rabbit has been cut into pieces, add the rabbit head, bones, celery, carrot, onion and bay leave to 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 40 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to the rabbit pieces and dredge in flour.
Place in a hot frying pan with olive oil. Saute until golden brown on both sides( 1 to 2 minutes per side)
Remove rabbit and place in a roasting pan.
To the hot frying pan add the celery, carrots, shallots, red pepper, garlic, mushrooms and herbs.
Saute on medium high heat for 3 minutes making sure to toss well.
Add the white wine to the pan to deglaze then pour over rabbit in roasting pan.
Pour the 4 cups of rabbit stock in the roasting pan and cover tightly with lid or aluminum foil.
Place roasting pan in a pre heated 350 F oven and bake for 1.5 hours.
Once cooked, remove rabbit pieces and set aside. Strain the sauce into a pot, add cream and bring to a boil. Reduce sauce by half.
Plate the rabbit with the creamy polenta, garnish with some of the braised carrot, mushrooms and red pepper and pour some of the reduced sauce on top.
To finish, drizzle dish with some truffle oil and sprinkle with shaved or thinly sliced chestnuts and serve.