I don't know about you but I've been really busy these days so when it comes to dinner I want something simple. Maybe even something I can forget which is why I love to braise meat.
Braising is a way to coax the optimum flavor from the meat in two phases. Initially the meat is browned on all sides, giving a wonderful crust while creating pan juices that enrich the sauce. Before the meat becomes too tough, it is bathed in stock and wine, placed in the oven with a lid. As the meat cooks, it begins to release tough and fibrous qualities, and in turn becomes a tender and flavorful dish.
As summer nears, I always grow a bit sad at the thought of moving away from braising and more towards the quick searing methods. I love a good grill and understand the satisfaction that comes with the summer but there’s nothing like a good braise. For me, this recipe captures the comfort of slow cooking without being too heavy. How could anyone resist?
Servings 4 to 6 servings
2 small rabbits, skinned and cut into pieces
Cooking fat such as lard or duck fat
Salt and black pepper, for seasoning
½ pound pork belly, chopped
1 onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, whole
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups white wine
1/2 cup whole grain dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4- 5 sprigs rosemary, fresh
In a large heavy bottomed pot, add enough fat to coat the bottom of the pan. Season rabbit pieces with salt and pepper and brown in batches. Reserving on paper towel lined tray.
Deglaze the pan with a splash of the white wine. Reduce the heat to low and add the pork belly pieces. Cook over medium-low heat to render out the fat and let the pieces get lightly browned. Remove the belly and add the onion. Cook stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and soft.
In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining wine, chicken stock and mustard seeds.
Add the garlic to the pot and cook stirring constantly so as not to burn for 2 minutes.
Add the browned rabbit pieces and pork belly back to the pot. Cover with the wine, stock and Dijon mixture. Add the rosemary and bring to a simmer.
Cover the pot tightly with a lid. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or until the rabbit is tender.
Remove the lid and check the consistency of the liquid. You want it thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it still too thin, remove the rabbit pieces and turn the heat to high to reduce the sauce more.
Finish by adjusting the seasoning with salt and pepper.