BRAISED RABBIT WITH PRUNES
Ever since I was served a rabbit dish made with prunes while living in Brazil, I have been searching for recipes that help me relive that wonderful memory. I found a pork butt with prunes recipe in a wholesale membership warehouse magazine that looked so appealing, I adapted it for rabbit. The result tasted like it was from a five-star restaurant! One caveat is that if the ingredients are not commonly available or grown in your immediate area, obtaining the exact list, as called for, might get pricey, so make substitutions as you see fit, e.g., scallions for leeks, round onions for pearl and use domestic wines. The flavors will vary but the preparation method is good and above all, YOU are a creative cook!
1, 4 lb. roaster rabbit, whole
1 C. white part only, finely chopped leeks
1 C. finely chopped carrots
2 C. peeled pearl onions (frozen o.k.)
2 bay leaves
1 C. port wine
½ C. chicken broth
1 C. pitted prunes
¼ C. brandy
salt & pepper
2 t. chopped, fresh sage, or 1 t. dried
2 t. chopped, fresh thyme, or 1 t. dried
1 t. powdered mustard
2 t. sea salt
1 t. black pepper
The night before:
Generously apply rub mixture all over rabbit, including cavity
Wrap/cover and refrigerate overnight
2 1/2 hours before serving
Heat oven to 350 F.
Pour enough olive oil to cover bottom of a heavy skillet or Dutch oven (that has a fitting cover).
Heat on high. Brown the rabbit on both sides, remove and set aside.
Add leeks, pearl onions and carrots, lower heat to medium, cover pot and cook until vegetables are soft (5 min.)
Add port and chicken broth, scraping any bits from bottom of pan
Add prunes and brandy, bringing to a boil
Return rabbit to pan and spoon some of the prunes over the top.
Cover the pan with foil and fit the lid on tightly. Cook the pot in the middle of the oven for 2 hrs. or until rabbit is tender.
Remove the rabbit from the pot and keep warm.
Purée 6 prunes in a blender or food processor and pour back into pan.
Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.
Cut rabbit into serving pieces and spoon sauce over meat at serving time.
Suggested side dishes: Steamed vegetables & sliced, red potatoes, sautéed in olive oil with sliced onions, minced garlic and parsley, sprinkled with white wine.