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Dutch Oven Rabbit

Contributed by Debi Smith from Houston

Comments: It is rabbit season once again, so if your hunter brings home a bunny, this is what you need to do. Use a heavy knife or meat cleaver to cut up the cleaned rabbit into quarters on either side of the back, like you would do for a whole chicken. If the rabbit is from the bush, soak it in buttermilk for 24 hours before using. If you have bought a rabbit from a store, soak it for 30 minutes in one part white vinegar to three parts water. Both ways remove the game flavour and help tenderize it a bit. Either way, rabbit can be still chewy if not immersed in cooking liquid and simmered for at least an hour. As this was our first rabbit, I chose the following recipe (modified only a tad) to try. It turned out quite delicious and I would definitely make it again.

1 rabbit (1 1/2-2 lbs)
1 cup bias-sliced celery
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup dry red wine
olive oil or butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
12 ounces chicken stock
1 tsp dried oregano crushed
1/4 tsp dried marjoram crushed
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 TBSP fresh parsley chopped

After soaking the rabbit pieces in buttermilk (or regular milk if that is all you have), or vinegar, rinse and pat dry. Brown the rabbit pieces in a dutch oven over medium heat in the butter or oil for ten minutes, turning after 5. Remove the rabbit and keep warm in the oven. Add celery, onion and garlic to the pan and cook until tender. Add the dried spices and cook 1 minute longer to release the flavour. Return the rabbit to the dutch oven and pour the wine, chicken stock and sugar over top. Stir, making sure the rabbit pieces end up snuggled way down into the celery/onion broth mixture. Reduce heat, COVER and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour or until rabbit pieces are tender and EASILY pierced with a fork.
Transfer rabbit and vegetables to a platter and keep warm. Return juices to the pan and reduce over high heat for a few minutes until there is only about 3/4 cup left. Add cream and keep stirring until it thickens slightly. Pour the sauce over the rabbit and vegetables and sprinkle with parsley. Tastes great!

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