Braised Rabbit with Mustard and Fennel Pairs with Côte de Beaune

In case you've forgotten about rabbit meat, Portland chef Jenn Louis is here to remind you how delicious, rustic and healthy this protein can be.


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“Rabbit is the underdog of proteins,” says chef Jenn Louis, a Portland, Oregon, dining-scene notable and a 2010 and 2011 James Beard “Best Chef Northwest” semifinalist. “I think that most people forgot about how delicious rabbit meat is, not to mention, it is lean, adaptable and sustainably farmed.” Rustically refined and soul satisfying, this is the perfect accompaniment to a cool autumn night.

Braised Rabbit with Mustard and Fennel

Recipe courtesy Jenn Louis, chef/co-owner of Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern, Portland, Oregon

½ cup Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 bone-in rabbit, approximately 3 pounds,
separated into 2 legs, 2 front quarters
and 1 loin
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch dice
1 fennel bulb, cut into ½-inch dice
2 thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
4 sage leaves
¼ cup dry white wine
2 cups rabbit or chicken stock,
or low-sodium broth
Soft polenta, for serving
Braised greens, for serving
Roasted carrots, for serving

In a small bowl, blend together the mustard and mustard seeds. Season the rabbit parts with salt and pepper. Coat the rabbit pieces with the mustard mixture, and place them into a large container. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet set over a medium flame. Add the rabbit pieces and cook until richly browned, about 2 minutes per side, turning the pieces carefully to keep as much mustard crust on the rabbit as possible. Transfer the rabbit to a holding plate.

Add the onion, fennel, thyme, rosemary and sage to the skillet. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Return the rabbit pieces to the skillet, nestling them in the vegetables.

Cover the skillet, and braise the rabbit in the upper third of the oven until tender, about 50 minutes. Remove the cover and braise for 10 minutes longer, until the rabbit pieces are glazed.

Transfer the rabbit to a holding plate. Discard the herbs. In a large saucepot set on high heat, add the braising liquid and simmer until it has reduced by two-thirds, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and return the rabbit to the sauce to heat through. Serve in shallow bowls over polenta, with braised greens and roasted carrots. Serves 4.

Braised Swiss Chard with Cumin and Garlic

Recipe courtesy Jenn Louis, chef/co-owner of Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern, Portland, Oregon

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved, cut into thin slices
4 small garlic cloves, sliced
1½ tablespoons cumin seed, toasted and roughly ground
Pinch of crushed red pepper
2½ pounds Swiss chard, cleaned, leaves cut into ½-inch ribbons, stems thinly sliced
½ cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons butter
Kosher salt, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, cumin and crushed red pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent, but not brown. Add the Swiss chard leaves, stems and chicken stock. Stir the chard as it cooks, about 10 minutes, until the leaves are tender. Stir in the butter and salt, to taste. Serves 8.

Wine Pairing

“Much like rabbit is the underdog in the kitchen, one could make a case for the commune of Saint-Aubin in Côte de Beaune as the underdog of Burgundy,” says David Welch, chef Louis’s husband and bar manager at Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern. “And embodying this underdog spirit in perfect form is winemaker Oliver Lamy...His 2010 Hubert Lamy Saint-Aubin La Princée is a perfect match with this rabbit dish. It has crisp acidity with subtle citrus and stone fruit that pair well with subtle flavors of the rabbit.”

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