Culinary school seemed to be a constant stream of cleaning lamb racks and butchering rabbits. I still enjoy both but rarely prepare them at home. I'm not sure why I don't make rabbit more often, it's mild and sweet and makes an excellent ragu to top noodles of any sort. The noodles I was experimenting with are of the grain-free fresh pasta variety, a recipe I am in the process of tweaking. If you're into butchery, you can use this handy guide from Saveur magazine to guide you. If not, ask your butcher to segment the rabbit for you.
2 tbsp avocado oil, or neutral oil of choice
1 rabbit, hind & fore legs, loin
1/2 cup smoked bacon - diced
2 shallots, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 cup red wine or beef stock
3 cups whole tomatoes, canned - smushed
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme, rough chopped
1 sprig of rosemary, rough chopped
1/4 bunch of parsley - rough chopped for garnish olive oil, drizzle for garnish
optional: parmesan or hard goat/sheep cheese for garnish
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high until shimmering hot. Season rabbit legs with salt and pepper and sear until browned. Remove rabbit. Add shallots, carrots, celery, garlic, cinnamon, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, pepper and salt and sauté until onions are translucent. Use red wine (or stock) to deglaze the pan - using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the flavourful bits that have attached to bottom of pan. Add tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and bring up to a simmer. Once at a simmer, return rabbit to pan. Turn heat down to low and braise on the stovetop for 1.5 hours - making sure not to let it boil, but lightly bubble.
After 1.5 hours, remove rabbit, it should fall off the bone. Taste the sauce for seasoning, add salt, pepper or balsamic if necessary. Remove meat from rabbit and return to the sauce.
Combine ragu with any noodle of your choice, adding parsley, parmesan and olive oil for garnish.