Braised Rabbit with Herbed Dumplings
Miller Union, Atlanta
We love this dish of luscious dumplings and succulent rabbit for its flexibile use of spring vegetables. Use whatever looks best at the farmers’ market, or whatever you happen to have on hand.
- 2 whole rabbits, cut into pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil as needed
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, thickly sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb, fronds removed and sliced
- 1 garlic clove, or 1 bulb of green garlic, sliced
- 1 lemon, quartered and seeds removed
- 1 small sprig thyme
- 4 to 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 3/4 cups water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon chopped chervil
- 1 teaspoon finely sliced chives
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon finely sliced tarragon
- Olive oil as needed
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Assorted fresh vegetables, such as 1 bunch baby carrots, peeled and blanched;
- 1 cup peas, blanched
- 1 cup chopped asparagus, blanched
- Chopped herbs (such as parsley, celery leaves, chervil, tarragon, or chives) to garnish
To prepare the braised rabbit, preheat the oven to 300ºF. Season the rabbit parts with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a large Dutch oven, then sear the rabbit pieces on all sides until golden brown. Add the carrots, celery, fennel, garlic, lemon, and thyme. Pour the stock and white wine over the rabbit and cover the Dutch oven. Move the pot to the oven and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender. Remove and let cool. Carefully pick the rabbit meat off of the bones, removing and discarding any cartilage or sinew. Reserve the meat in the refrigerator.
Strain the braising liquid and return it to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Remove the resulting sauce from heat, let cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.
To prepare the dumplings, heat the water and butter in a medium pot until the butter is melted. Add the flour and stir with a rubber spatula to incorporate. Cook, stirring contantly, for 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the eggs to the dough one at a time, letting each egg fully incorporate before adding the next. Add the mustard, Parmesan, chervil, chives, lemon zest, parsley, and tarragon and mix until incorporated. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, then pipe 1/2-inch pieces of dough into the simmering water, using a knife to cut off the pieces. Using a slotted spoon, remove the dumplings when they start to float. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and let cool. Coat the dumplings lightly with olive oil, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Reheat the sauce until warm.
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the dumplings to the pan and sear until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add some blanched vegetables of your choosing. Pour some of the warm sauce into the pan. Add the rabbit meat and sauté until it’s heated through, taking care not to overcook the vegetables.
To serve, ladle the rabbit, dumplings, and vegetables into deep bowls and garnish with fresh herbs.
4 to 6 servings