It’s rabbit season, and in addition to terrines, ballotines and rables de lapereaux farcis, I also like to make use of the varieties of wild mushrooms we’re catching at the moment with a lapin en gibelotte. It’s one of those white wine fricassees and you can find a version of it in just about all housekeeper’s companions. This dish is exquisite in Autumn when the volailler puts the wild rabbits out, and when I make this with game animals, I replace the salt pork with smoked poitrine. It is still great way to cook any big farm rabbit you can get. When using farm rabbits, the flavor I find is more balanced with either salt pork or fresh poitrine, try it and make your decision.
Recipe: Lapin en Gibelotte
150 g salt pork
15 small onions
150 g mushrooms
2 tbsp. flour
1 ½ cups dry white wine
1 bouquet garni
30 g butter
2 cloves garlic
parsley, minced fresh leaves
salt and pepper, to season
2 tsp. dried thyme and bay, ground in a spice mill
- Cut the salt pork into cubes, and bring them to a boil in 2 cups of water. Drain and pat dry.
- Peel and parboil the onions. Set aside.
- Clean the mushrooms.
- Heat the butter in a saute pan large enough to give the rabbit pieces room. Add the salt pork and the onions, and let that cook for about 3 minutes, shaking and stirring. When they are browned, add the mushrooms and and cook over high heat for 5 more minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid, and set aside.
- In the same buttered saute pan, to which you can add a little more fresh butter, if necessary, saute the rabbit (minus its liver), seasoning with salt, pepper, thyme and bay which you have ground in a spice grinder.
- Sprinkle the flour over this when it is sufficiently brown, and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, letting it further brown.
- Sprinkle crushed garlic over that, and then add the wine, agitating to allow it to absorb the flour. Add water if necessary to make sure the rabbit is covered at least halfway.
- Add the bouquet garni, then simmer in the oven (200C/400F) for 30 minutes.
- At the end of this simmering period, add the salt pork, onions and mushrooms, and simmer for another 25 minutes. 5 minutes before stopping the cooking, add the liver and parsley.
- If at the end of cooking, the sauce has not reduced to your liking, remove the rabbit (keeping it warm) and transfer the sauce to a smaller pan, then simmer over high heat to evaporate the liquid and concentrate it.