Pan-roasted rabbit recipe

Although here people think of rabbit mostly like fluffy, nice pets warm and cuddly, I think of rabbits as a succulent piece of meat that you roast and eat with your favorite sides. I know I might sound cruel, but I assure you I have never killed anyone’s pet rabbit to cook me some stew.
Anyway here rabbits are mostly pets, with the result that is kind of difficult to buy a rabbit to cook. About a year ago I bought a rabbit at the farmer’s market. I cooked it with olives and pine nuts (typical of Liguria) and then I had to trow it all out because it was rubbery and chewy and generally speaking inedible. It was a terrible culinary debacle and the dinner guests still make fun of me for that night rabbit.

I told the sad story to my mom, and my mom comforted me telling me it was probably a bad rabbit. That made me feel better, but still I didn’t try myself at rabbit for quite a while.
Then a couple of weeks ago I went shopping at an halal butcher and I saw a very good looking rabbit and decided to try again. After much debating, self-convincing and a long phone consultation with my mom AKA the rabbit queen, I finally brought myself to cook the rabbit. And…..it turned out great!!! So proud of myself!

Ingredients

  • rabbit
  • garlic
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • salt
  • pepper
  • water or broth
  • EVOO

Directions

  1. Here is what I did. First I cut the rabbit down. I was trying to find a video on YouTube to show you how I did it but all the videos are extremely complicated. I simply took a meat cleaver and imitated what I have seen butchers in Italy do: I cut the rabbit in 4 parts: back legs, 2 pieces for the bust (what in Italy we call the saddle) and another piece front legs. Then I divided the leg pieces in two so that each piece was only one leg.
  2. Then I put some oil with a couple of crushed garlic cloves, sage and rosemary in a pan that can comfortably contain the rabbit. I put the pan on the stove and let the garlic brown up.
  3. At this point I added the rabbit pieces and seared them on all sides until it was all well browned. Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of wine. After the wine evaporated, I covered the pan and let it cook adding water from time to time, because rabbit tends to dry out quite a bit.
  4. The rabbit should cook for about 40-50 minutes if it is farm raised and almost 2 hours if it is free range.
  5. I served my rabbit with polenta but works well also with roasted potatoes or any other side that would work for roasted chicken.

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