CONIGLIO CON GREMOLATA E POLENTA RABBIT WITH GREMOLATA AND POLENTA
FROM MAMMA LICIA’S, SALEM MAMMALICIA.COM
Makes 4 servings.
Homemade Rabbit Broth
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
Heart, lungs, liver and kidneys from 1 rabbit
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Heat a medium stockpot over a medium flame. Add 1 tablespoon of good extra-virgin olive oil and a clove of fresh garlic. Cook for 1 minute then add the rabbit organs (heart, lungs, liver and kidneys) and sauté until browned. Add 4 cups of water, bay leaf, carrot, celery, onion quartered and peppercorns. Cover and cook over a mediumlow flame for an hour.
Strain and your clear rabbit broth is ready. Note: The remaining cooked vegetables and organs can be puréed and added to ground meat for a delicious moist meatloaf.
3–4 tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Italian
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves of fresh garlic, cut in half
1 fresh rabbit, cut into back legs, front legs and the saddle cut into two pieces (remove organs and reserve for stock)
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 medium yellow onion, very finely chopped
1 medium carrot, very finely chopped
1 small celery stalk, very finely chopped
¼ cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio)
2–3 cups of homemade rabbit broth (or other lowsodium light broth)
1 fresh bay leaf
cup of peeled whole plum tomatoes, hand crushed and their juice reserved
2 teaspoon potato or corn starch
3 tablespoons milk (or broth)
Heat a medium heavy-bottomed pot (or a large sauté pan) over a medium flame. When warm, add the oil but do NOT let it smoke. If the pan is too hot, lower the flame or move to a smaller burner. Immediately add the crushed red pepper, fennel seeds and garlic halves and cook until the oil is fragrant with these flavors, 1–2 minutes.
Meanwhile pat dry all the rabbit pieces and season each side with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. When the oil is ready, add the rabbit pieces and sear one side until browned. Turn pieces over and add the onions, carrots and celery. Let everything cook—stirring only the vegetables every now and then—until the vegetables have softened and the other side of the rabbit pieces has browned, 2–3 minutes.
Raise the flame a touch and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Then lower to medium-low and add the crushed tomatoes, the bay leaf and enough rabbit broth to cover everything. Season with some sea salt and fresh pepper and stir. Cover and braise (cooking at a gentle boil) checking and stirring occasionally, for 45–60 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the rabbit is cooked through and tender, almost falling off the bone.
Discard garlic halves and bay leaf. Whisk the starch in the milk and add to the pan. Adjust seasonings to taste and cook 1–2 minutes uncovered. Cover and keep warm.
When ready to plate, add the gremolata and serve immediately over the polenta.
1 tablespoon fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped finely
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped finely (+ a couple whole sprigs for garnish)
Zest of 1 organic lemon
Mix the parsley, rosemary and lemon zest together. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
Low-sodium chicken stock (½ the liquid required by the polenta package)
Water (½ the liquid required by the polenta package)
Coarse sea salt, at least 1 tablespoon
8 ounces instant Italian cornmeal polenta (approximately 7 minutes cooking time)
2 tablespoons butter
cup of freshly grated aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the water and stock until it starts simmering; add salt and let it dissolve. Whisk in the polenta and keep whisking for a minute or so. Hot polenta splatters can cause burns, so be careful and do not let it boil! Keep the flame on medium-low and stir often until done (as per directions on package). Remove from heat, stir in the butter and cheese and adjust seasonings to taste. Cover and let it rest for 1 minute, then serve immediately.
If you are not ready to plate, pour the polenta over a flat serving vessel (cutting board, plate) and cover with a kitchen towel previously soaked in hot water and wrung dry. When ready, cut using a strong cotton string.
Plate the polenta then add the rabbit pieces. Spoon some of the sauce over the rabbit and add a rosemary sprig as garnish. Serve immediately. Buon appetito!