Saddle of Rabbit with Leeks and Rosemary
Max Schacher remembers that when he first introduced rabbit to his menu, he had a hard time selling the idea. Now it is quite popular. For this version, he uses saddle of rabbit, marinated and then roasted with the vegetables from the marinade. The sauce is made from pan juices. He serves the rabbit with julienned leeks softened in butter.
- Marinade, Rabbit, and Sauce
- Rabbit - one, 3-pound, saddle section
- Dry white wine - 1-1/2 cups
- Fresh Rosemary - 2 sprigs
- Carrot - 1 small, peeled and chopped fine
- Onion - 1/2 medium, chopped fine
- Celery - 1 stalk, chopped fine
- Garlic Clove - 1, crushed
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Rabbit Stock or Chicken Stock - 1 cup
- Tomato - 1, sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Leeks - 2 medium, cleaned well, julienned
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Salt to taste
- Rosemary Sprigs - 4
To prepare the rabbit: Put the saddle of rabbit in a bowl with 1 cup of the wine and 1 sprig of rosemary. Add the carrot, onion, celery, and garlic. Turn the rabbit to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 to 48 hours. (Alternatively, put these ingredients in a heavy zippered plastic bag, press out the air, and marinate for the same amount of time.)
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Remove the rabbit from the marinade and dry with a towel; reserve the marinade. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper. Put 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a roasting pan and heat until sizzling. Add the rabbit, skin-side up, and brown. Turn, wrapping flaps around the fillet to protect it, and brown on the other side. Place in the oven and cook 10 minutes, to medium-rare. Baste often.
Add the vegetables from the marinade to the pan with the rabbit and cook for another 5 minutes, basting and turning occasionally. Remove the rabbit from the pan and place where it will stay warm. Trim the saddle flaps and chop coarsely. Return to the pan with the vegetables. Put the pan over medium-high heat and saute briefly, then skim the fat. Add the remaining wine and the stock and stir up the glaze from the bottom of the pan. Reduce by half. Add the tomato and cook until softened. Strain the developing sauce through a fine-meshed sieve, reserving the liquid and discarding the solids. Gently whisk the remaining tablespoon of butter into the sauce until smooth. Set aside; keep warm.
To prepare the leeks: Melt the butter in a medium saute pan and add the leeks. Cook slowly for 2 to 5 minutes, turning the leeks over in the pan. The leeks should remain crisp. Season with salt to taste.
To serve: Remove the fillet of the rabbit from the saddle. Cut the saddle bone crosswise and place one section on each of two warmed plates. Surround the saddle bones with the leeks. Cut the fillet into very thin slices lengthwise. Fan slices on top of the leeks. Spoon sauce over the rabbit. Garnish each with sprigs of rosemary.