For the most part, when I mention to some one that I enjoy rabbit, I become the receiver of the world's saddest puppy dog eyes: "But they are soooooo cuuuuuuute!!!" I agree. Rabbits are freakin' adorable. And I do love seeing them running around in the forest just like everybody else. But I also know that they taste as cute as they look. What can I say; I'm an omnivore.
Rabbit is a delicious food that, with proper preparation, can be a delight to eat. With it's fine texture and delicate flavor, it is very important to not over cook rabbit. In fact, everytime I have had rabbit, there has always been some sort of sauce to accompany it. Up until now, my favorite sauce to enjoy with rabbit has been made with wine, prunes, stock, and some butter. Last night's rabbit may have been that sauce's very own Farmer McGregor: chasing it right out of the garden (or in my case kitchen). Taking a more traditional approach, a simple pan sauce proved to be a very tasty variation.
2 front quarters of rabbit
1 small shallot, finely minced
4 tbsp butter
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp freshly ground allspice berries
1 cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1/2 cup whitewine
1 tsp mustard
1 oz. cognac
salt and pepper to taste
Season rabbit with salt and some of the allspice. Dredge in flour, shaking to remove excess. Over medium high heat, melt 2 tbsp butter in a saute pan with thyme. When the butter is just starting to brown, remove thyme. Add rabbit, browning all over. Lower heat and cook gently until well done. Remove rabbit from pan and keep in warm in a low oven, or cover with aluminum foil.
Add 1 tbsp of butter and minced shallot to the pan and brown. When sufficently browned, deglaze pan with stock and wine, scraping all of the fond. Whisk in mustard and remainder of the allspice. Simmer until reduced to just about one quarter cup. Pour in cognac, tilting the pan to ignite the alcohol. BE CAREFUL!
Finally, revmove from heat and gently whisk in the final tbsp of butter. At this point, season with salt and pepper. Serve with rabbit.