Rabbit with Apricots in Cabernet Sauce
Bright tourneed vegetables and vegetable julienne sets off the rich deep brown rabbit pieces and apricots, drenched in rabbit sauce. The rabbit is marinated in Cabernet Sauvignon, and the wine marinade becomes part of the pan juices when the rabbit is braised.
- Young Domestic Rabbit - 1, dressed
- Cabernet Sauvignon - 1 cup
- Red Wine Vinegar - 1/8 cup
- Garlic Cloves - 2, unpeeled
- Bouquet Garni - rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, and crushed peppercorns tied in cheesecloth
- Dried Apricots - 5 ounces
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Peanut Oil - 3 tablespoons
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Rabbit Demi-glace - 1 cup (alt. veal demi-glace)
- Vegetable Accompaniment
- Turnips - 3 large, peeled
- Carrots - 6 large, peeled
- Zucchini - 1 small
- Asparagus tips - 8 plump, blanched
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
To prepare the rabbit: Bone the rabbit saddle, legs, and shoulders. Cut the meat into 1-ounce cubes. Put the meat and the wine, wine vinegar, garlic, and bouquet garni in a covered non-aluminum bowl or a heavy plastic zippered bag and marinate for 12 hours.
Soak the apricots in cold water for 1 hour, then drain. Drain the rabbit, reserving the marinade and bouquet garni. Pat the rabbit dry and season all over with salt and pepper. In a heavy casserole, heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the rabbit and brown on all sides; this will take about 20 minutes. Add the garlic, reserved marinade and bouquet garni, apricots, and demi-glace. Cut a circle of waxed paper or parchment paper, butter it lightly, and place it in the casserole to cover the rabbit. Put the cover on the casserole and simmer 20 to 30 minutes.
To prepare the vegetables: Using the two largest turnips, carve four football-shaped pieces from each. Set aside the other turnip and the trimmings. Cut four of the carrots in half and carve each into a football shape. Set the other carrots aside. Blanch the turnip and carrot “footballs” (these are now called tourneed, or turned, vegetables) separately in lightly salted water; drain, plunge into cold water to stop the cooking, and set aside.
On a mandoline, cut the remaining turnips, carrots, and the zucchini into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Bring a pan of lightly salted water to a boil and drop in the strips. Let the water return to a boil and cook 20 to 30 seconds; remove from the heat, drain the vegetables, and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in each of two large saute pans over medium heat. Put the tourneed turnips, carrots, and the asparagus tips in one; swirl to coat the vegetables with butter. Put the vegetable julienne in the other and toss to coat. Saute the vegetables in both pans until hot. Set aside; keep hot.
To finish the rabbit and sauce: Take the casserole off the heat. Remove the bouquet garni and discard. Retrieve the garlic cloves and remove the husks. Mash the garlic into a paste with the remaining butter. Remove the rabbit and apricots from the sauce and set aside; keep warm. Put the casserole back over medium-high heat and stir in the garlic-butter paste, a little at a time. Cook until reduced by one third.
To serve: Half way up each warmed dinner plate, place two tourneed turnips across the plates, leaving a gap between them. Behind these, place two asparagus tips, points out. Behind the asparagus tips place two tourneed carrots. Mound vegetable julienne at the top of the plates, behind the arranged vegetables. Arrange rabbit pieces and apricots on the plates in the clear section below the vegetables. Spoon sauce over and around the rabbit and apricots.