lapin basquaise1 kg web

Lapin Basquaise

Braised rabbit in tomato & white wine sauce with sun dried tomatoes & green olives

Recipe by Karen Gros.

Rabbit has had a place on the kitchen table in Italy, France, and Spain for more than a millennium, thanks in large part to Pope Gregory I condoning the consuming of rabbit during lent, proclaiming that rabbit meat was not meat.  Rabbit meat is both nutritious and versatile. Many liken it to chicken breast, though it does have a more dynamic taste.  Higher in protein than meat (and more easily digestible than other proteins), rabbit is high in B vitamins, particularly B12, has virtually a third of the calories of beef, and half the calories of pork.  Avoid overcooking, as it will dry out.  This classic is delicious served with a vegetable side and polenta or rice.

Pel-Freez, located in Rogers, AR, is the largest producer of domestic rabbit in the United States.  They are the only USDA-approved, Grade A supplier for rabbit meat.  Their rabbits are farm bred and raised to yield young rabbits with mild and succulent white meat.

Serves 6

            Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

            1 whole (2 ½ to 3 pound) rabbit, cut into 6 pieces

            2 tablespoons unsalted butter

            2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

            1 large onion, sliced in half rounds

            2 carrots, sliced in thin rounds

            4 cloves garlic, minced

            2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely minced

            1 tablespoon fresh thyme

            3 dried bay leaves

            1 cup dry white wine

           10 sun dried tomatoes, reconstituted in hot water

           1 ¾ cups whole, peeled plum tomatoes with juice

           ½ cup Spanish green olives, whole, pitted

  1. Salt and pepper both sides of each piece of rabbit. Melt half the butter in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add half the olive oil, and lightly brown the rabbit on all sides, working in batches as necessary to prevent steaming. Remove rabbit to a plate.
  2. Add remaining butter and olive oil to the pan. Sauté the onion several minutes until transluscent, add the carrots, cook another minute or so, add the garlic, cook another 2 to 3 mintues. Do not allow onions or garlic to brown. Add the herbs and cook for another minute, and then add the wine and tomatoes with juice. Stir in half the olives, along with the reconstituted sun dried tomatoes; and nestle the rabbit in one layer on the bottom of the pan. Simmer on low, covered, for 20 minutes. Turn rabbit, and simmer another 20 minutes, covered.
  3. Remove rabbit to a heat-proof bowl and cover with foil. Reduce the sauce, at least by half, until thickened (this could take 15 minutes or so). Add remaining olives, and more fresh rosemary, if desired. Add the rabbit back to the sauce, simmer on low to warm through, and toss to coat well.
  4. Serve with seasonal vegetables and a side of polenta or rice.