Wild Rabbit Ragout

Chef’s Recipe
2 whole wild rabbits*, skinned and gutted
1/2 cup sea salt
2 quarts buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bottle dry white wine
1/2 gallon chicken stock
3 ounces butter
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced parsnips
1 cup diced red potato
1/2 cup shelled sugar snap peas
1/2 cup shelled fava beans
Coarse cracked pepper as needed
Sea salt as needed
Fresh thyme, rosemary, parsley, and sage as needed
Red wine vinegar as needed
1) Whisk salt and buttermilk together.
2) Cut the rabbit into 8 pieces and soak in buttermilk-and-salt solution for 4 hours.
3) Remove rabbit and pat dry with a paper towel.
4) Lightly dust rabbit pieces with flour.
5) Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan with a lid. Add rabbit pieces and brown lightly. This can be done in batches until all pieces are brown. Do not overcrowd the pan. Remove meat to a plate and set aside.
6) To the same pan, add carrots, celery, and onion. Cook until brown and tender. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant.
7) Add white wine 1 cup at a time. Allow it to cook down until the pan is almost dry before adding the next cup. Continue this until the entire bottle has been added.
8) Return the rabbit pieces to the pan. Add chicken stock, cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the rabbit is tender and falling from the bone. Pick the rabbit meat from the bone. Set aside the stock.
9) In the now-empty pan, add butter, 1/2 cup of water, parsnips, and potatoes. Cook until the vegetables are tender, but do not brown. Return the rabbit and the stock to the pan. Season lightly.
10) Cook until the ragout thickens slightly, like a hearty stew. Add the peas and fava beans. Cook for an additional 20 minutes.
11) Season with fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar.
* Local Source: Pendleton’s Meat the Rabbit (317-714-0475) sells bone-in whole fryers, either vacuum-sealed and frozen or special-ordered fresh.