Recipe: Rabbit stew with mushrooms

I can never get enough of a hearty stew, particularly when it’s dark and stormy outside; so in light of the upcoming thunderstorm and tornado season here in the Midwest, I present you with yet another rabbit stew recipe.  If you happen to have an overabundance of rabbit (hello spring!), try this along with the previously featured rabbit stew recipe.
 

Necessary equipment:

  • Medium pan
  • Slow cooker or large pot/dutch oven

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole rabbit cut into 6 equal pieces
  • 1/2 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion sliced into thick strips
  • 1/2 – 1 lb of baby portobello mushrooms (aka crimini mushrooms), washed
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic
  • Some olive oil
  • Some white wine
  • 2 medium sized turnips peeled and cut into ~2 cm (3/4 inch) pieces
  • 8 small red potatoes, rinsed, with skin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups flavored stock (I didn’t have enough chicken bouillon to make 4 cups, so I supplemented it with vegetable)
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons of cornstarch slurried in 1/8 cup of water (for thickening, leave out if you like your stews thin)

Optional ingredients:

  • Liver from the rabbit

Instructions:

There is always a lot of room for experimentation in cooking, and the potential for utilizing leftover ingredients in the fridge, so please do everything according to your tastes.  For example, if you like celery and carrots in your stew, throw them in!  Like things spicy?  Throw in some red pepper flakes! With that said, here’s what I did:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
  2. Cut the top third off of the garlic bulb, drizzle it with olive oil, then loosely wrap in aluminum and bake for 45 min

Meanwhile…

  1. Heat a pan to medium/medium-low heat (this part depends on your burners, you want it hot enough to lightly sauté your onions, no burning or charring)
  2. Season rabbit pieces with salt and pepper while pan is heating
  3. Pour enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan and sauté onions and the few bits of garlic that were in the top third of the garlic bulb you just cut (waste not; want not right?)
  4. While the onions and garlic are sautéing, dredge the rabbit pieces in your seasoned flour (shaking off excess flour)
  5. When the onions and garlic pieces are soft, turn up the heat to medium and brown the rabbit pieces on both sides 
  6. When you have time during the browning process, peel and cut the turnips and put them at the bottom of your slow cooker/stew pot and then throw in the rinsed potatoes
  7. DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR ROASTING GARLIC IN THE OVEN! Take it out when it is done and allow to cool
  8. If your pan is not large enough to hold all the rabbit pieces and onion/garlic mix, rotate the mix and browned rabbit pieces into the pot as well
  9. Once there is space in the pan, add a little more oil to the pan and briefly sauté the mushrooms 
  10. Remove any remaining rabbit from the pan (leave the mushrooms), and deglaze the pan with some of that white wine and allow to cook down to about half the volume of the liquid.
  11. Extract half of your roasted garlic cloves from their skin and throw them in the pot (save the other half to spread over bread with a soft ripened cheese).
  12. Throw the mushrooms and remaining liquid into the pot along with the thyme 
  13. Add enough stock to fill the pot
  14. Fire up the slow cooker to high for 30 min to 1 hour, then turn down to low and it go for ~6 hours.  If you’re using a pot, bring the liquid to a boil and then lower the heat to medium and cook for another hour or so until the rabbit meat is falling off the bone (but still maintains structural integrity).
  15. When nearly ready to serve, pour in cornstarch slurry, mix well, and heat until liquid thickens.
  16. When done, turn off the heat stir in the chopped up liver and (the liver will cook with the heat of the stew).

I enjoyed this stew on a warm and stormy evening with a sourdough roll.  Rabbit certainly has a distinctive wild and gamey flavor, but it was largely masked by the thyme and roasted garlic; the gaminess can be detected if you seek it, but also ignored.   As others may have mentioned, rabbit has a texture akin to dark turkey meat, but is rather tough and can stand long periods of slow cooking.  Through this process, I discovered that I do not particularly care for turnips, so the next time I make this, I will surely be making additions and substitutions!

 

Sheina

A self-proclaimed modern day nomad, I was born in the Philippines, grew up in southern California—lived all over really—and now I do research as a graduate student in Indiana and the Pacific Northwest. Professionally speaking, my current area of focus is speciation and ecological genetics and genomics, and a common theme in my various projects over the years is evolution in agricultural systems. As a recipient of a GLOBES—an interdisciplinary program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Integrative Graduate Education, Research, and Traineeship grant (IGERT) —fellowship, I have received training which has better enabled me to view and ponder topics without my science hat on. I take great joy in eating, cooking, and experiencing nature through various activities. I love to travel and anticipate many local and international invasivore field trips! Though my research interests do not directly involve the study of invasive species, I have had my fair share of negative encounters with environmentally noxious organisms in the midst of doing field research. I carry around a machete with which to combat my gnarly “Himalayan” foes, and my machete and I have raised more than a few eyebrows. Apart from my personal vendetta against these deliciously juicy pests, I feel that there are great advantages to linking our awareness of the natural world to our culture, and Invasivore is an avenue to do just that. I feel that an increase in general knowledge of invasive species will be of great benefit to the field of invasive species and conservation biology. Knowledge and awareness will lead to action, and action will lead to results!

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