Roast Texas Rabbit with Red Chili Jelly
Sweet-hot red pepper jelly complements the delicacy of rabbit beautifully. The red chili jelly is an excellent condiment for any simple grilled or roasted meat, or as an hors d’oeuvre on crackers with cheese. The stock and sauce can be prepared up to two days in advance and reheated. The red chili jelly will keep for two months in the refrigerator. The only part of the dish which must be done at the last minute is the rabbit itself.
- Fresh Whole Rabbits - two, 2-3/4-pound fresh
- Carrot - 1, sliced
- Onion - 1 medium, sliced
- Celery Stalks - 1-1/2, sliced
- Black peppercorns - 3
- Chicken Stock - 6 cups
- Red Chili Jelly
- Red Bell Peppers - 3, seeded and diced
- Jalapeno Chilies - 6, seeded and diced
- White Wine Vinegar - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 2 cups
- Certo brand pectin - 1 package
- Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Chicken Stock - 1/2 cup
- Fresh Basil Sprigs - 3
- Rabbit stock - 1-1/2 cups (above)
- Pine nuts - 4 tablespoons
- Clarified Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter - 6 tablespoons, at room temperature
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Cilantro Sprigs - 6
To make the stock: Preheat the oven to 450 F. Remove the hindquarters from the rabbits and remove the bone from the upper leg. Remove the loins, and trim to remove all fat and silver skin. Set the meat aside. Break up the bones and place in a roasting pan with the vegetables. Brown in the oven for 30 minutes, turning occasionally, then deglaze the pan with some of the chicken stock and pour all contents into a stockpot. Add the remaining stock, bring to a boil over medium heat, lower the heat to a simmer, and simmer the stock for 4 hours, skimming as necessary. Strain the stock through a fine-meshed sieve and refrigerate, discarding the fat layer that forms on the surface as it chills.
To make the red chili jelly: Puree the peppers and chilies in a blender or food processor. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and, when hot, add the pepper puree, vinegar, and sugar. Boil for 10 minutes, then add the pectin and return to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
To finish the dish, preheat the oven to 450 F. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Season the rabbit meat with salt and pepper and sear the rabbit on both sides until golden brown. Add the chicken stock and place in the oven. Remove the loins after 2 minutes, return the pan to the oven, and bake the remaining rabbit 6 minutes more. The meat should still be slightly pink.
While the dish is cooking, prepare the sauce. Simmer the basil in the reduced rabbit stock for 3 minutes; remove and discard. Toast the pine nuts in the clarified butter in a skillet and add them to the stock, along with the red chili jelly. Bring to a simmer, take off the heat, and whisk in the butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve: Slice the loin meat diagonally into medallions. Place a hindquarter on each warmed serving plate. Divide the medallions among the plates and fan around the hindquarter, overlapping them slightly. Spoon hot sauce over the meat. Garnish each plate with a cilantro sprig.