Yes, another rabbit recipe. What can I say – we’ve found a wonderful source for locally-raised, domestic bunny.
Tasty, tasty bunny.
Oh, I kid…sort of. Really, rabbit is quite delicious when cooked properly and this recipe does it complete justice. I admit it’s a wee bit involved, but it’s not difficult by any stretch of the imagination – you marinate the rabbit, poach the rabbit in olive oil, then brown the rabbit and sauce it.
And it is absolutely delicious.
I’ll be the first to admit that domestic rabbit is very lean and can be a bit on the dry, stringy side, but poaching it in the olive oil does an absolutely marvelous job of mitigating that. The meat comes out of the oil unctuous and juicy. And as odd as it may seem, the sauce of the poached garlic, which is rendered mellow and sweet, with the reserved orange juice, zest, honey and orange liqueur – I used Cointreau – is a beautiful finish for this company-worthy dish.
Use the best olive oil you can find, for both the marinade and the poaching process; I don’t believe it ever gets hot enough to oxidize the more fragile fats and it absolutely imbues the meat with its unique, fruity flavor. I also used blood oranges, but any good quality orange would be fine. Don’t skimp on the garlic, either; the flavor isn’t overwhelming at all, and works quite well with the orange and rosemary.
If you can’t find rabbit, or simply can’t bring yourself to eat it, chicken would be perfect in this.
- 1 rabbit, cut into serving pieces
- 3 large oranges
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 cup olive oil
- 8 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
- Grate the zest of two of the oranges into a small bowl. Peel the zest from the third orange; seal in a small plastic bag and set aside. Juice all three oranges and combine the juice with the grated zest.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup of the combined juice/zest, chopped rosemary, wine and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Generously salt and pepper the rabbit pieces and place them in a resealable, 1-gallon plastic bag. Add the marinade; press out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Turn a few times to coat the rabbit and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Remove the rabbit pieces from the bag and discard the marinade. Place the rabbit in a large heavy pan or enameled Dutch oven with the cup of olive oil over medium heat. Cook, turning frequently, until the rabbit is a light golden color, but not browned. Add the garlic cloves and the reserved strips of orange zest to the pan; reduce the heat to low, cover and poach the rabbit until fork tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Heat a wide, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and transfer the rabbit from the pot of oil to the skillet, browning it quickly and lightly on all sides. Move the pieces to a plate or platter; cover and set aside.
- Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-low. Fish the garlic cloves out of the olive oil in the Dutch oven and transfer to the skillet, mashing them lightly. Stir in the reserved orange juice with the zest, the honey and orange liqueur. Cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid reduces a bit and becomes slightly syrupy. Return the rabbit pieces to the skillet, turning to evenly coat them.
- Plate the rabbit, brush with any remaining sauce and serve.
- Nutrition (per serving): 351 calories, 20g total fat, 64.6mg cholesterol, 48.2mg sodium, 569.5mg potassium, 16.2g carbohydrates, 2.4g fiber, 11.6g sugar, 23.9g protein