Friday, May 30, 2014

Sauteed Rabbit with Morels

2 cup  fresh morels
1 rabbit
1/4 tsp each of savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
16 pearl onions (about 12 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1.5 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup fruity dry white wine (such as Riesling or Albariño)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 3 cloves)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 slice firm white bread (3/4 ounce)
1 tablespoon bottled horseradish

Cut the back legs from the body of the rabbit and halve each of the legs at the joint. Remove the front legs and then the front part of the body (containing the rib cages). Cut this portion in half. You now have 8 pieces plus the saddle, or back.

Mix together the herbs, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the saddle and the rabbit pieces with the mixture.

Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot until hot. Add the rabbit saddle and pearl onions and sauté over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the saddle and onions are browned on all sides. Remove the saddle and set it aside. Remove the onions to a bowl and set aside.

Add the rabbit pieces to the drippings in the pot in one layer and brown them on all sides for about 10 minutes. Add the shallots, sprinkle with the flour, and mix gently. Cook for about 1 minute, then add the wine, broth,  garlic, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook gently for 45 minutes.

MEANWHILE, FOR THE SADDLE: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the saddle on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and brush the top and sides of it with the mustard. Process the bread and horseradish in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl, add the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, and mix just enough to combine and moisten the bread. (Do not overmix; the mixture should be light and fluffy.) Pat the mixture lightly over the top and sides of the saddle, so it adheres to the mustard coating.

Roast the saddle for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Add the morels and pearl onions to the stew and cook, covered, over low heat for 15 minutes.

To serve, divide the stew among four individual plates. Cut the saddle into 4 pieces. Arrange one piece alongside the stew on each plate and serve, or serve the saddle on its own.

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