Rabbit in White Wine with Corn Polenta

Rabbit in white wine sauce
Rabbit in white wine sauce

The idea for this dish came from a friend of ours who brought a bottle of white wine to our party and said that it’s best companion for a rabbit dish. This guy has worked as a chef in several restaurants all around Europe, so we think he knows what’s he’s talking about. We have never cooked rabbit before, but inspired by the wine we decided to give it a try.

Rabbits are widely available in meat counters in Spain. They are not expensive either. Locals generally use them for paella, but we decided to take more direct approach by leaving the main ingredient to speak for itself. However, the hero of this dish is the rosemary white wine sauce. Reduced white wine brings the flavors into whole new level!

We are used to gut fishes, handle half a lamb, etc, but this time I have to say that it was a bit uncomfortable to cut the rabbit’s head off. After the head vanished (along with the eyes!), rest of the rabbit is just like handling any other piece of meat. The liver and heart were in place, but we decided not to use them. All you need is a big sharp kitchen knife, big cutting board and a little bit of force. We cut the rabbit into 6 pieces, so that it would fit nicely into sauce pan.

We were not expecting much of this dish, because it was the first time we cooked it, but it turned out to be excellent! The rich sauce works well with the flavors of the rabbit and polenta.

Ingredients for Rabbit in White Wine for 4 Servings

  • One whole rabbit – conejo
  • 4 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
  • 8 sprigs of rosemary – ramitas de romero
  • 1 bottle of dry white wine – una botella de vino blanco seco
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra
  • olive oil – aceite de oliva
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) of cured ham – jamón
  • 1 onion – cebolla
  • 1 carrot – zanahorna
  • handful of spring onions – cebollino
  • 1 celery – apio
  • 3 dl (1.5 cups) of vegetable stock – caldo de verduras
  • 200 g (7 oz) of olives without stones – aceitunas sin hueso

Cut the rabbit into 6 pieces. Slice the garlic gloves and mix them with 4 sprigs of rosemary leaves, salt and pepper. Splash some olive oil on top of the rabbits and rub the spice mix on them. Leave to marinate for few hours in the fridge. We marinated them for 5 hours, but the time isn’t that important.

Pour a bottle of white wine in a sauce pan along with 4 sprigs of rosemary. Bring to boil and let it reduce until about half of the liquid is left (20 minutes or so).

Splash a little bit of olive oil in another sauce pan.  Put the pan on medium heat, cut cured ham, carrots, spring onions and celery and let them get some color for a few minutes. Add the pieces of rabbit and let them brown, too. Add the reduced white wine and bring to boil. Add vegetable stock so that the meat pieces are almost covered. Season with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and let them cook for about 45 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.

After 45 minutes remove the meat from the sauce pan and use a stick blender to make the sauce from the ingredients in the sauce pan. Add salt and pepper, if needed.

Ingredients for Corn Polenta

  • 100 g (3.5 oz) of corn flour – harina de maiz
  • 6 dl (2.5 cups) of water – agua
  • A splash of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese – parmesano rallado
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt – sal marina
  • a handful of chopped parsley – perejil

Heat the oven to 175 ºC (350 ºF). Pour the water into a sauce pan, bring it to boil and add the sea salt and little bit of olive oil. Start adding the corn flour while constantly whisking the mixture for 15-20 minutes until the texture is silky smooth. Add a little bit water, if it becomes too thick. In the end add parmesan cheese and parsley.

Put a baking paper on the baking tray and pour the mixture on top.  Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Cut in polenta into pieces and serve with the rabbit and sauce. Finish the plate with olives.

¡Buen provecho!

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