Sourcing meat that isn’t run-of-the-mill has been a bit of a problem for me in the years we’ve lived in Wichita. I’m very picky about quality, so I don’t buy meat at a supermarket, which limits my selection to what’s available at the various health-food stores, which actually do carry things like grass-finished beef and humanely-raised pork. However, the meat is usually frozen and not local. Boo. Plus, the selection isn’t great because I’d bet most people who shop at those stores are somewhere along the pescatarian/vegetarian/vegan spectrum.
I was really excited when I found out that we were getting a butcher. Let’s face it, an honest-to-god local butcher is a foodie’s dream come true. As excited as thirteen-year-old girls at a Justin Bieber concert, Paul and I took ourselves over to Douglas Avenue Chop Shop to check out the selection. We were not disappointed. We came home with the rabbit and pork belly for this dish, as well as chicken eggs and duck eggs. We went back later in the week for steaks and duck sausage. Everything has been awesome. If you’re in the Wichita area and you’ve been pining for a decent selection of meat, pine no longer!
Yeah, so this rabbit dish was amazing, though I say it myself. Mustard Rabbit isn’t really complicated but you’ll need a good chunk of time because just the simmering step takes an hour-and-a-half. I’d give myself an extra hour on top of that to do prep and get everything going.
Saddle of rabbit cut into four medallions or rabbit’s front and back legs
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder, divided
1 tablespoon lard
1/4 lb pork belly, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 carrot, cut into chunks
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup dry cider
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons minced parsley, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon minced thyme
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup heavy cream (double cream)
Dredge rabbit pieces in mixture of flour, 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Heat lard in a large lidded skillet or braiser. When the fat is good and hot, add the flour-coated rabbit pieces and brown on each side, turning heat down if rabbit starts to blacken. Throw in the pork belly, carrot, and onion. Stir a bit before adding cider and chicken stock. Finally, add in the bay leaf, parsley, and thyme. Bring everything to a boil, then back off the heat to a simmer, cover and cook 1 1/2 hours, or until rabbit is cooked through and tender. While rabbit is cooking, whisk together the egg yolk, cream, and remaining teaspoon mustard powder. Set aside.
When rabbit is cooked, remove rabbit, pork belly, and vegetables with a slotted spoon to a warmed plate, leaving liquid in the pan. Discard bay leaf. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce to 1/3 to 1/2 original volume, depending on how thick you’d like your gravy. Turn the heat down and start tempering the egg yolk enrichment by whisking in hot liquid about a tablespoon at a time until enrichment is nice and hot (so the egg won’t scramble). Pour enrichment into liquid in pan and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Either return rabbit, pork, and vegetables back to pan and coat with gravy or serve gravy alongside.
Adapted from Favourite New Forest Recipes.
To cook the entire rabbit at once, just double the recipe. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to brown the rabbit in two batches.
I’m linking this recipe to Cooking with Herbs at Lavender and Lovage.