Gone are the days when most wood stoves saw the addition of a stout rabbit a regular occurrence. Strangely the prolific creatures are actually a kind of expensive rarity these days. Grocery stores sell them as a specialty meat at upwards of twenty dollars a piece! For the average person, the succulent rabbit may be found less expensive if hunted or homegrown. We were the lucky recipients of two homegrown rabbits raised on fodder at the high mountain home of our friends. We were up on the mountain for a weekend of fur trapping and helped to butcher 13 rabbits. The Mountain Man and his wife Paulette were so kind as to send us home with two of the fresh, healthy delicacies. Once at home I started researching some creative ways to cook them. I had never cooked a rabbit before so I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the different methods. One method particularly intrigued me and I soon found myself at the store purchasing the specialty spices and herbs used to create the most succulent and mouth watering dish I have enjoyed in some time….Rabbit Confit. The results were so incredibly delicious I had to share it. This method of cooking was completely new to me but truly simple, easy and perfect for rabbit meat. I hope you take the time to try it. I know you won’t be disappointed.
1 whole rabbit, skinned and cut into 8 pieces
1 shallot, peeled
10 cloves garlic, peeled
6 dried bay leaves
2 t. cracked black pepper
2 t. anise seeds
6 cardamom pods
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 T. dried rosemary
2 t. mustard seeds
1 T. salt
About 3 to 6 cups or so of oil, I used mostly olive oil with the addition of some vegetable oil. Canola oil with the olive oil can also be used.
Lemon wedges, for squeezing
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Rinse the rabbit and dry with paper towels. Place in a heavy 4-quart pot with a lid or a dutch oven.
Add the ingredients except for the oil and lemon. Slowly pour the oil over everything until the meat is covered by a half an inch.
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your pot and set it on the surface of the oil.
Cover with the lid and place in the oven. Keep an eye on the oil in the dish as it cooks. It should never be fully boiling but just barely simmering. I had to reduce the heat to 250 degrees after one hour. Cook about 3 hours or until the meat is tender but not falling off of the bones. Once it has cooked take it out of the oven. Heat a grill or pan until hot and sear the meat just a couple of minutes on each side.
Place on a plate and drizzle with a little of the confit oil and a squeezed wedge of lemon.