Thursday, January 12, 2012

Braised Rabbit with Roasted Red Pepper and Merguez Sausage

I wasn't going to post this recipe because the effort to reward ratio just seemed off, but that was before I tasted the leftovers. After I little time with the flavours melding in the fridge, this dish was nothing short of amazing. It may not be the easiest thing to make, but I've changed my mind and decided it's worth it. Recipe below is scaled in half from the original. Feel free to double it back up!

One year ago: Green Curry Shrimp with Rice
Two years ago: Almost Eggs Benedict

Braised Rabbit with Roasted Red Peppers and Merguez Sausage (from All About Braising)

1 rabbit
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 medium yellow onion (3 ounces), thickly sliced
1/2 medium carrot, thickly sliced
1 garlic clove, unpeeled, smashed
small handful parsley stems
3 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
coarse salt
1 1/2 cup chilled chicken stock or water
1 large red bell pepper (6 - 7 ounces)
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion (3 ounces), finely chopped
1/2 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp pimenton or paprika
1/2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp sherry
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 pound merguez sausage, cut into 1" pieces
salt and pepper
For liver and kidneys
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sherry
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. Butcher the rabbits so that you have the saddle and 4 legs separated from the rest of the rabbit (the book does an excellent job of describing this). Set liver and kidneys aside. Chop remaining carcass into 2 - 3 inch chunks.
3. Place chopped up carcass and belly flaps in lightly oiled roasting pan and roast until lightly browned and sizzling, 30 - 35 minutes.
4. Marinate rabbit legs and saddle with marinade ingredients for at least 2 hours.
5. Place roasted bones in small stockpot. Deglaze roasting pan with 2 tbsp water and add to pot. Add stock ingredients and simmer for at least 1.5 hours.
6. Roast red peppers, peel, and cut into 2 by 1/4" strips.
7. Heat oven to 300F.
8. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a shallow braising pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear rabbit pieces until a golden crust forms on each side, 5 - 7 minutes. Return to bowl.
9. Drain pan of all but a few teaspoons of fat. Add onion and celery and cook until softened and tinged brown, 6 minutes. Add garlic, pimenton, and tomato paste and cook until you smell the garlic, 1 - 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp sherry and bring to a boil until reduced to a wet paste. Add strained rabbit stock and boil at a strong simmer until only 1/2 cup liquid remains, about 15 minutes.
10. Add rabbit legs to simmering liquid along with half of parsley. Place saddle on top. Cover with a piece of parchment and place lid on top. Slide into oven and braise for 1 hour.
11. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tbsp of oil in large skillet. Cook sausage and transfer to a plate. Drain excess fat. Add pepper strips, remaining 1 tbsp sherry and stir until heated through. Return sausage to pan and set aside.
12. Separate liver into 3 lobes. Season liver and kidneys with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in small skillet and sear organs on each side until cooked through. Transfer to plate. Deglaze pan with sherry and reduce to glaze. Pour over organs.
13. When rabbit is almost tender, remove from oven and add in sausage-pepper mix. Stir to blend. Return parchment paper and lid and slide back into oven to braise until rabbit is fork tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover, stir in liver and kidney and sprinkle with remaining parsley. Serve.

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