A classic French dish of rabbit and mushrooms braised with tomato and meat stock.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Blewit, Fermented wild mushrooms, Lapin, Rabbit, Shaggy Mane
1large or medium-sized rabbit with kidneysheart and liver, legs separated, loin/saddle/breast cut into 3-4 two inch pieces
All purpose flouror equivalent, for dredging
Fresh ground black pepper
1teaspoonfresh chopped thyme
1cupdry white wine
1cuptomato juice or puree
1cupchicken stockrabbit stock, or water
2tablespoonsbacon drippings or lard
2ouncesgood slab baconcut into ½ inch pieces, or an equivalent smoked meat product
½cupor ½ a medium-sized onionsmall diced
8-16ouncesfresh wild mushroomsleft whole if small, quartered or halved if large (I used blewits and shaggy manes here)
1Tablespoonfinely sliced garlic
Finely chop the rabbit offal and reserve. Season the rabbit pieces liberally with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour and brown deeply in lard on medium-high heat in a large, 12 inch cast iron skillet. Halfway through, pour the fat off the pan and add the bacon to the pan, then render crisp. Move the rabbit and bacon to one side of the pan, then add the sliced garlic to the pan and cook, adding a little lard or fat as needed, until the garlic is lightly browned, toasty, and aromatic.
Add the onion, rabbit offal, and mushrooms to the pan and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, then add the brandy and tilt the pan to the side to ignite (optional). Next add the wine, tomatoes, and stock to the pan, then transfer to the oven and cook at 325 for 45 minutes, covered, or until the meat just moves from the bone, but is not falling apart.
Remove the rabbit from the pan, keep warm, and finish the sauce by reducing until it's thickened lightly (there will be some evaporation from baking, and you may not need to) finally whisking in the tablespoon of butter and correcting the seasoning for salt.
Alternately, just serve the rabbit from the pan and let people ladle sauce over their plates. Traditionally you'd probably have this with rice or pasta, but I opted for a simple quick slaw of shaved brussels with lemon and oil.