Peppered Saddle of Rabbit with Foie Gras and Meyer Lemon Oil

Unless you make an old-fashioned 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 back part of the rabbit, the saddle, needs far less cooking time than the legs.

Of course, you do not have to have foie gras for this dish—you could just take the sinews out of the livers that come with the rabbit, flatten the livers out, marinate them with the rabbit, and stuff the saddles with this liver instead of the foie gras.

The dish is easier to eat if you bone out the saddle first, but you do not have to.

Ingredients

  • 4 rabbit loins or saddles
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, stemmed, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh tarragon, stemmed, chopped
  • 4 1-ounce slices foie gras in a jar
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium celery root, peeled
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons rose or pink peppercorns
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon oil or another flavored oil
  • Kitchen string

Method

Put the olive oil, thyme, and tarragon in a bowl and mix. Add the rabbit pieces and rub the mixture all over the rabbit. Let marinate for 2 hours, and then scrape off the marinade into a small bowl. Strain the marinade and save the oil. Put a foie gras slice on the underside of each saddle and fold the belly flaps over. Tie the saddles up with kitchen string.

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

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Coarsely crush the black and pink peppercorns. Mix the peppers with the saved marinade oil and a pinch of salt, and pat the pepper mix on top 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 over low heat for 5 minutes, taking the cover off for another 5 minutes. Put the rabbit pieces on a sheet pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the saddles rest for 10 minutes with the oven door open.

Stir the remaining butter into the vegetable mixture and spoon it onto warm plates. Put the rabbit saddles on the vegetables, and drizzle with the Meyer lemon oil.

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