Lionheart Wines
rounded corner

Rabbit with Lime Creme Fraiche

Makes 6 servings

Chile paste:
4 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
½ tablespoon ground toasted cumin seeds
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 rabbits, cut into 6 to 8 pieces each
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped peeled carrot
½ cup chopped onion
Rabbit or chicken stock (you’ll need 3 to 4 cups)
Lime crème fraiche:
1 cup crème fraiche
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 ½ to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Tiny pinch of salt
A few grindings of black pepper

1 clove garlic, chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground toasted cumin seeds
Pinch of chile flakes
¾ cup olive oil

1 ½ cup finely shredded cabbage
4 to 6 radishes, sliced
1 cup arugula
1/3 bunch cilantro, leaves only
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese or soft fresh goat cheese
1 or 2 limes, cut into wedges

For the chile paste:
Toast the chiles until aromatic, then put them in a small pot with just enough hot water to cover.  Soak the chiles 1 hour until soft, then drain them, reserving some of the soaking liquid.  Puree the chiles in a blender along with the garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper, adding a little of the soaking liqid as needed.  You want the chile paste to be slightly thinner than warm peanut butter.  Strain and reserve.

To cook the rabbit:
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat.  Toss in the rabbit, season with the salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown on all sides.  Transfer the rabbit to a platter.  Add the celery, carrot, and onion to the same pan and cook until browned.  Stir in the chile paste, and cook 1 to 2 minutes to bring out the flavor.  Add the rabbit back to the pan and stir everything to coat the meat nicely.  Pour in just enough stock to cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the meat is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes.Pull the meat out off the broth and let it cool on a rack set over a baking sheet.  Strain the broth into another pot. Simmer the broth to reduce by half, until it is thick enough to coat a spoon.  Chill this sauce until you’re ready to serve.  When the rabbit is just cool enough to handle, carefully pull the meat from the bones, leaving it in big pieces as best you can.  It will break up some when you reheat it.  Watch out for small bones as you do this.  The meat can also be chilled until you’re ready to finish the dish.

To finish the rabbit:
Add the meat to the sauce.  Stir everything to combine, and cook just long enough to heat it through.

For the crème fraiche:
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  Cover and chill until needed.

To make the vinaigrette:
Whisk together the garlic, salt, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, sugar, and optional cumin and chile flakes.  Continue whisking as you add the oil in a slow, steady stream and whisk until well emulsified.

Just before serving:
Reheat the rabbit.  Combine the cabbage, radishes, arugula, and cilantro in a bowl, and dress with just enough of the vinaigrette to moisten.  To serve, top some braised rabbit meat and sauce, greens, and crumbled cheese.  Drizzle with crème fraiche and garnish with lime wedges.
You can serve the rabbit on a raft(toasted bread or tortilla), in a wonton or other favorite method.

Based on Big Small Plates, Pg. 197-199

rounded corner