Just in time for Easter… is a braised rabbit stew. I get my rabbits frozen over at H-mart, but occasionally there is fresh rabbit at the organic market @ Union Square. But whether you use fresh of frozen rabbit this hearty stew makes a nice alternative to the large ham or leg of lamb prepared for this holiday, especially if you are not cooking for a crowd. The recipe here uses three pounds of rabbit and serves about four people.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Stew

  • 3 pounds rabbit meat, cleaned and cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose
  • 1/2 pound bacon,
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Duck Walk red
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary

For the Gravy

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly browned. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Sprinkle the rabbit with salt and coat with 1/3 cup flour, shaking off excess. Now, here’s my little secret; brown the rabbit in the remaining bacon fat. Remove the meat from the skillet, along with all but 2 tablespoons of the fat, and reserve.

Saute shallots and garlic in skillet for about 4 minutes, until tender. Stir in wine, 1 cup water and bouillon. Then heat the liquid to boiling, then stir in the peppercorns, bay leaf, and rosemary. Return rabbit and bacon to skillet. Heat to boiling, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 1 1/2 hours or until rabbit is tender.

Remove bay leaf and discard. Place rabbit on a warm platter and keep warm while preparing gravy.

To Make Gravy: Stir lemon juice into skillet with cooking liquid. Combine 3 tablespoons water with 2 tablespoons flour and mix together; stir mixture into skillet over low heat. Finally, stir in thyme. Pour gravy over stew and serve, or pour into a gravy boat and serve on the side.

What goes well with rabbit stew? Why potatoes.. and carrots! And Duck Walk wines!


Baked Easter Ham

Easter and large baked hams.. I really don’t know then these to things where paired up, but it seems every store out there is throwing hams at me. So there must be some reason why ham is so associated with Easter… maybe to ward off heathens. Well, here is a simple straightforward baked ham, the secret to getting it right is in the knife.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) uncooked smoked ham, bone-in
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cognac

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap ham completely with parchment-lined foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Pop it into the oven and bake for about 1 1/2 hours.

Unwrap ham and toss out the parchment and foil. Now here’s the real secret to making those diamond shaped patterns in the fat. Use a utility knife, you know, like the sheetrock cutting knives, to score the fat in a diamond pattern, making the lines about 3/4 inch apart. The uniform depth of the blade makes uniform cuts in the fat. Transfer ham to a large roasting pan.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and Cognac. Brush ham evenly with 3/4 of the brown sugar mixture and return to oven. Continue cooking the ham for an hour more. Then, brush ham with remaining brown sugar mixture and continue cooking 30 minutes more. Transfer to a serving platter until ready to carve.

easter ham