Red Wine and Olive Braised Rabbit with Mustard Sauteed Kale

21 Oct

I was driving home from school and making a mental grocery list.  I just needed to pick up a few things – some Brummel & Brown for toast in the morning, a container of cottage cheese because I’m a weirdo and its my favorite snack ever when topped with crushed red pepper flakes, and a 12 pack of beer.  Whenever I do a quick stop at that particular grocery store I always get some meat, either a whole chicken to roast or something else that looks good.  I settled on turkey legs or a breast for a mini-Thanksgiving at some point this weekend.  When I walked over to the freezer in which they are usually in, I noticed something different.  They had … whole rabbit.  And … duck.  Duck legs, duck breasts, whole rabbit … usually not items this particular store carries.

I went with the rabbit (for now – the duck will have its day!).  The cashier did a highly comical double-take when she rang it up.  First, the what the hell is this and since when do we carry it?  And then, oh my god it’s Peter Cottontail – who is this evil little weirdo buying a rabbit?

Whatever.  She’s obviously never eaten the recipe I am about to share with you.

First things first – my rabbit came whole (minus the head and organs), so I had to was completely happy to spend an hour Googling tons of videos on how to butcher a rabbit.  This video of Chef Rogers Powell was very helpful for me, but there are tons of videos and tutorials out there and I encourage you to find one that works for you.  I am not at all confident my butchering of the rabbit was up to snuff, so I won’t presume to explain to you how to do it.

After simmering in some red wine, the rabbit was tender and delicious.  The slightly game-y flavor was complimented by the bold red wine and salty bite of the olives.  The subtle punch of mustard from the sautéed kale worked beautifully with the rich flavors of wine and herbs.  Plus, this dish is absolutely gorgeous.  A beautiful burgundy color is imparted to the rabbit and onions and contrasts strikingly with the bright green kale.  If you’re not a rabbit-eating sort of person, I suspect this recipe would would really well with dark meat chicken pieces as well.

Red Wine and Olive Braised Rabbit with Mustard Sautéed Kale

Red Wine and Olive Braised Rabbit:

1 2 lb. rabbit, cut into serving pieces

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs. butter

3 tbs. fresh chives, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 small red onion, peeled, halved lengthwise and layers separated

1 small yellow onion, peeled, halved lengthwise and layers separated

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2/3 bottle red wine of choice (I used a California merlot)

1/3 cup kalamata olives, with pits

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Season rabbit pieces liberally with salt and pepper.  Mix together flour with more salt and pepper.  Lightly coat the rabbit pieces with the flour.

Heat olive oil and butter in heavy bottomed pot over medium heat until butter is melted and begins to sizzle.  Add rabbit pieces and sauté about 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown, being sure not the crowd the pan.  Work in batches if necessary.  Add garlic, herbs, onions, and wine.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.

Cover and simmer about an hour and fifteen minutes until tender, turning over once.

Add kalamata olives and increase heat to medium or medium-high so liquid will reduce.

The final internal cooking temperature should be about 160º.

Serve over mustard sautéed kale greens with a few ladles of the braising liquid.

Mustard Sautéed Kale:

1 16 oz. bag chopped kale greens

1 tbs. olive oil

1 small red onion, chopped

1 tbs. whole grain Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add kale greens and boil 5-6 minutes until bright green.  Drain.

Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Add mustard and greens and stir to combine.  Cook until greens are tender and heated through, about 5-6 minutes.

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