Fine, maybe it wasn’t the Easter Bunny, but this critter definitely was ‘a bunny’.
Last weekend, following a traditional Easter overeating, I was discussing potential blog recipe option with someone else who shall remain unnamed, and she suggested that we should have done a rabbit stew post for Easter.
Seeing as we seem to have developed a warped tradition of posting, ahem, ‘less than traditional’ things on holidays, the idea made sense in a twisted sort of way, so…
I already like rabbit and will cook with it when I can get it from the semi-local farm here in Kentucky, so this wasn’t exactly a foray into something new and unusual. Last summer I whipped up a pretty awesome, if a touch disturbing looking, roasted whole rabbit wrapped in thick cut bacon, but this time around I decided I needed a little recipe guidance.
Lucky for me, the same previously unnamed person reinforced this entire idea in my head by
sending me several links to classic Italian recipes using rabbit from La Cucina Italiana. After poking through the site, I settled on what looked like a relatively simple, yet hearty Rabbit Cacciatore recipe (mostly because I had almost all of the ingredients already in the kitchen leftover from the lentil stew) and started gathering the few ingredients I didn’t have.
Finding a rabbit was pretty simple – as I mentioned before, there is a rabbit farm just South of Louisville in Boston, KY, and they sell their products locally at one of the farmer’s markets and also at Kingsley’s, a great local meat market. The recipe seemed a little bland when I read over it, so I also grabbed some fresh thyme from my mudpit/garden, and decided a dash of crushed red pepper would give it that little bit of heat that I always add to a dish. That covered everything.
Except for the wine.
For those who are new to the blog or might have missed it before, I am Winetarded. I don’t drink it, I barely know which wines are which, and I also am nowhere near even novice level when it comes to picking one to cook with. After being beaten about the head with a stick the last time I tried to use wine, I remembered that for cooking with wine, Amity’s mantra is ‘avoid oak-aged wines’, so I set off to find an white wine that wasn’t aged in oak barrels. (Amity’s note: Yes, for red wine & cooking. Much harder to do if you’re using a white…)
I may as well have been trying to find the real Easter Bunny.
Finding a wine took about an hour of wandering, searching, stooping, and crawling under shelves at the local Liquor Barn to figure out where they hid their selection of New Zealand wines, since I knew of one brand that offered a non-oak aged chardonnay. (Amity also pointed out that I could have asked for help, but I am male and am prohibited by gender from doing so.)
After much digging, I found the one I was looking for, sitting in plain sight on a middle shelf naturally – a bottle of Kim Crawford 2007 UNOAKED Chardonnay. That was the last item on the list, so now it was time to hit the kitchen.
The final result was pretty spectacular – sweet, tender rabbit critter, earthy mushroomy flavor (from the addition of the baby bellas) and a tiny touch of heat from the little bit of crushed red pepper. Definitely a keeper.