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    Rabbit: Rabbit and Cornmeal Dumplings

    Source of Recipe

    From "The Southerner's Cookbook" by the editors of Garden & Gun

    Recipe Introduction

    "If you've never cooked rabbit before, this recipe is a good starting point. First, there's the cooking method. Rabbit meat is lean, like all game, so cooking low and slow in liquid makes it tender. But the combination of flavors is what will put this dish into regular rotation on your Sunday dinner menu—dumplings sweetened with cornmeal and cream cheese join the meat in a hearty mustard-wine sauce. The amazing thing about a slowly simmered braise is how those flavors will evolve, fully coming together a day or two after the dish is made. You can prepare this recipe all at once or chip away at it in stages. Braise the rabbit and strain and skim the cooking liquid a few days before you plan to serve the dish. Then make the dumpling dough and wrap and chill it until you're ready to roll."

    List of Ingredients

    For the rabbit:
    ◦ 1 (3-pound) rabbit, cut into frontquarters, hindquarters, and saddle
    ◦ Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    ◦ 2 tablespoons olive oil
    ◦ 1 thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon slice, halved
    ◦ 1 large Vidalia onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
    ◦ 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
    ◦ 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
    ◦ 3 cloves garlic, minced
    ◦ 1 cup dry red wine
    ◦ 1 fresh rosemary sprig
    ◦ 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
    ◦ ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    ◦ 4 cups chicken stock

    For the dumplings:
    ◦ 1 pound cream cheese, softened
    ◦ 1 large egg
    ◦ 1 large egg yolk
    ◦ ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    ◦ 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    ◦ 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    ◦ 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
    ◦ 2 cups soft cornbread crumbs

    To finish:
    ◦ 1 ½ teaspoons grainy mustard
    ◦ ½ cup heavy cream
    ◦ Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


    For the rabbit:
    Preheat the oven to 325° F. Season the rabbit pieces liberally with salt and pepper. Put the oil and one bacon slice half in a large Dutch oven over medium-high and cook until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered (about 3 minutes per side). Remove the bacon and set aside. Sear the rabbit pieces in the pot on all sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the rabbit and set aside.

    Add the remaining bacon slice half, the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and sauté for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and begun to turn golden; add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the wine and deglaze the pot, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Add the rosemary sprig, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and 2 cups of the stock. Nestle the rabbit pieces in the pot on top of the vegetables. Cover and transfer to the oven; bake for 2 hours.

    Remove from the oven and transfer the rabbit pieces to a plate to cool. In a large bowl, strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing the solids with the back of a spoon to extract all their liquid. Discard the solids. (You should have 2 to 2 ½ cups of strained braising liquid.) Skim any fat from the surface, then return the liquid to the pot, along with the remaining 2 cups stock. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Pick the rabbit meat from the bones (being careful to remove any small bones) and set the meat aside.

    For the dumplings:
    Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the whole egg and egg yolk, beating until combined. Add the flour, salt, pepper, and thyme and beat until incorporated. Fold in the cornbread crumbs with a rubber spatula. Divide the dough in half. Tightly wrap one half and freeze it to make dumplings another day. Wrap and refrigerate the other half for at least 1 hour before proceeding.

    Roll the chilled dumpling dough into a 1-inch-thick log on a generously floured surface. Cut the dough log into 1-inch pieces, like gnocchi. (You should have about 30 dumplings.) Whisk the mustard and cream into the simmering liquid and slip the dumplings into the pot. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the rabbit meat and cook to warm through, about 1 minute. Serve the dumplings and rabbit in shallow bowls with a ladleful of braising liquid. Garnish each serving with parsley. Serve immediately.

    Serves 6




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