Rabbit and Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Stew

Submitted by Chef Will Gilson of Puritan & Co., Cambridge

Serves 4–6

8 rabbit legs
Vegetable oil
1 pound peeled, diced Long Island cheese pumpkin (½- inch dice)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 to 2 cups chicken stock
1 onion sliced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon (preferably Meyer lemon)
2 fresh bay leaves
½ cup crème fraiche
White wine to taste, at least
2 tablespoons Black pepper
Parsley, marjoram, and tarragon, rough chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salt the rabbit legs well and set aside for 10 minutes or so. Set a Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan. Pat the rabbit pieces dry and brown well on all sides. You may need to do this in batches, so don’t crowd the pot and don’t rush things. Remove the rabbit pieces once they are browned, about 15 minutes.

Add the butter, then the sliced onion and cook until they just begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir well. Cook, stirring often, until the flour turns golden, about 5 minutes.

Return the rabbit to the pot and add enough chicken stock to cover. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the lemon zest, juice, bay leaves, and white wine and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook slowly until the rabbit begins to fall off the bone, about 1-2 hours.

Add the pumpkin and continue cooking for another 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Add the crème fraiche, black pepper, and herbs. Serve with nice country bread.