Saddle of Rabbit with Black and Rose Peppercorns

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Unless you make the old-fashioned type of country rabbit stew, cooking the rabbit for a couple of hours until all the meat turns very tender and falls off the bone, the same problem exists with rabbit as with poultry: namely, the breast meat—in this case the saddle—cooks faster than the legs and thighs. In order not to overcook the saddle, I have separated it from the rest of the rabbit, and in the next recipe use a longer, moist cooking for the legs.

Ingredients

  • 4 rabbit loins or saddles
  • 2 rabbit livers
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, stemmed, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh tarragon, stemmed, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons rose or pink peppercorns
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 8 large sprigs fresh chervil

Method

Rub the rabbit pieces and livers all over with a mixture of the oil, thyme, and tarragon. Let marinate for 2 hours.

Cut the carrots, celery, and onion into ⅛-inch dice.

Heat the oven to 375°F.

Coarsely crush the black and pink peppercorns. Rub over the tops of the saddles.

Put the onion, celery, carrots, 2 tablespoons of the butter, and the chicken stock in a pot. Cover and sweat the vegetables for 15 minutes, taking the cover off for the last 5 minutes. Put the rabbit pieces on a sheet pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Add the livers to the pan for the last 5 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes in a warm place.

Stir the remaining butter into the vegetable mixture and spoon it onto warm plates. Put the rabbit saddles on the vegetables; slice the livers and put those around the rabbit. Garnish the plates with the chervil sprigs.

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