Braised Rabbit with Parsnip, Pear, Fennel & Cabbage


I like rabbit. And frog's legs. And alligator. At restaurants, I can always be counted on to substitute salad for the rice pilaf, or ask if I can get the ginger pear ice cream with the fruit compote instead of the vanilla.

But just because I'm particular doesn't mean I'm fussy. This rabbit dish takes a relatively unusual protein and enrobes it in easy stuff, the product-aisle version of velvet. Summer is a crisp and crunchy salad. Autumn is a slow and silky braise. Here, the pear melts into the fennel which melts into the cabbage, like tumbling dominos of taste.

RECIPE: Preheat oven to 485 degrees Fahrenheit. Sweat 4 shallots in pan. Cut 3 parsnips, 2 Bartlett pears, 1/3 head of cabbage, 1 head of fennel, and add to large roasting pan with salt and pepper. Add shallots, 1 quart of chicken broth and bring to boil on stove for 7 minutes. Brown rabbit, 5 minutes on each side. Add to boiling vegetable and broth mixture.

Place roasting pan in oven uncovered and cook for 25-30 minutes, until broth has reduced. Broil on low for 5 minutes, until rabbit is golden on top. Remove from oven and add fresh parsley and zest of 1 lemon. Serves 3-4.