Rabbit and smoked bacon casserole, flavored with chocolate, vegetables, and potatoes, then garnished with croutons and fresh parsley. The chocolate is optional, but adds a sophisticated twist to the flavors.
INGREDIENTS (for 4 servings):
- 2 (2 pound) rabbits, dressed and deboned, bones reserved
- 1 tablespoon mirepoix base
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 turnip, diced
- 2 medium potatoes - peeled and cubed
- 1/2 pound smoked bacon, cubed
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 3 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate, chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 slices white bread
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Season rabbit bones with mirepoix base, and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish or similar. Roast for 30 minutes, or until browned and fragrant.
Remove rabbit bones to a saucepan, and add enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced by half to provide a stock for the recipe. This will take up to 30 minutes depending on the size of your pan.
Mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Coat rabbit pieces with the seasoned flour. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the dish used to bake the rabbit bones. Cook rabbit pieces over medium-high heat, or in the oven, just until evenly browned on the outside.
Remove rabbit pieces, and add the carrots, onion, leek, turnip and potatoes. Add bacon, and if necessary, a little more oil. Place the rabbit pieces over the vegetables. Mix together your homemade rabbit stock and tomato puree; pour into the baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil or a lid. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bake the rabbit casserole for about 1 hour, or until rabbit is cooked through. Adjust the seasonings to taste. If you wish to use the chocolate, mix it in at this time.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Trim the crusts from the bread slices, and slice in half diagonally or into cubes. Fry bread in oil until lightly browned.
Serve casserole in the pan, topped with fried bread (or croutons) and sprinkled with chopped parsley.