You can’t have too many rabbit recipes. This simple dish that feels rather wintery with layers of cabbage is a nice spring dish when the cabbage is still sweet. The sweetness of the vegetables melds well with the earthiness of the rabbit and the salty bacon. Serve with boiled spring potatoes for a classic combination.
Based on the recipe Lapin au chou in Petit Larousse de la cuisine : 1800 recettes
1 3 to 3 1/2 lb rabbit, cut into serving pieces
¼ lb of thick bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small head of cabbage – remove the core and separate and wash the leaves
1 carrot, sliced
1 turnip, diced
2 medium onions, chopped
Oil or butter for browning the rabbit and sautéing the vegetables
½ cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Place the bacon in a sauce pan large enough to blanch the cabbage leaves. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove the bacon pieces and set to the side retaining the water in the sauce pan. Return the bacon water to a boil, add the cabbage leaves and let blanch for 3 minutes. You may need to do this in batches. Remove the leaves from the water and set aside.
Heat the oil or butter over medium high heat in a Dutch oven and brown the rabbit pieces. Again you may want to do this in batches to avoid crowding. Set the rabbit pieces to the side. Place the bacon in the Dutch oven, reduce the heat to a medium flame and sauté until the bacon starts to brown. Add the carrot, turnip and onion and continue to sauté until the bacon is nicely browned and the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and vegetables from the Dutch oven and set to the side.
Layer 1/3 of the cabbage on the bottom of the Dutch oven, next add a layer of ½ the rabbit pieces followed by ½ of the vegetables and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Starting again with cabbage, make another layer of each and end with a final layer of cabbage. Be sure to season each completed layer, not too much though, as the bacon may still be somewhat salty. Pour in the white wine and bring to boil. When hot, cover and place in the oven until the rabbit is cooked through and tender, about 45 to 50 minutes.