Rabbit is one of those meats you either love or hate; I’m in the camp that loves it. I don’t cook it often but whenever I do I find myself wondering why I don’t cook it more often. After all, it is readily available fresh in Belgian markets. And rabbit is a versatile meat-it can be grilled, baked, or fried in the same ways one would cook chicken. But my favorite method is slow cooking it in a stew or a braise.
Now that the cooler weather is upon us again braised meat is the perfect dinner. This recipe, adapted from Simply Recipes, is easy to make and the ultimate in comfort food. And when using real Belgian ale, I like to think of it as a quintessential Belgian fall dinner. Serve the rabbit over a parmesan infused polenta or other starch that can soak up the juices.
BRAISED RABBIT in BELGIAN ALE
1 2 1/2- 3 pound rabbit cut into 6 or 7 serving pieces
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups Chimay or other Belgian ale
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons brown sugar
- Place the rabbit on a large plate and sprinkle on both sides with salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Place the flour on another plate and dredge the rabbit pieces in the flour.
- Heat the oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted and foamy, add the rabbit in a single layer. Brown on both sides for 5 to 6 minutes per side without disturbing. Remove the rabbit to a plate.
- Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown.
- Add the garlic cloves and thyme and cook until the onions are soft and the garlic is fragrant.
- Increase the heat to high and add the ale. Simmer for 2 minutes then add the chicken stock. Season with the salt and pepper.
- Return the rabbit to the pot and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Cover the pot and reduce the temperature to low. Cook for 45 minutes or until the rabbit is cooked through and tender.
- Remove the rabbit to a platter and keep warm.
- Increase the temperature to high and reduce the liquid by one third.
- Reduce the temperature to low and stir in the mustard and sugar.
- Return the rabbit to the pot and rewarm.