Rabbit confit makes use of the classic technique of slowly simmering the meat in oil until cooked through and incredibly tender. A mix of shallots, garlic, rosemary, cardamom, star anise, juniper, and more, imbues the dish with stunning flavors.
The muscle formation in the legs of most animals makes for tough, stringy meat. Confit involves cooking slowly, which allows these formations to break down and yield a luscious result. The added dimension of grilling or searing it in a skillet provides a brilliant smoky char that takes this dish to new levels.–Michael Psilakis
LC OPTIONS GALORE NOTE
The talented, gracious, and pragmatic author of this recipe, Michael Psilakis, was generous enough to share a few more ways to experience rabbit confit…
– Lightly cure the meat before making it into a confit: mix 3 tablespoons kosher salt with 1 tablespoon sugar. Rub the mixture all over the pieces and place on a rack in your refrigerator overnight, uncovered. Rinse well and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels before you begin the confit.
– Leftover rabbit confit makes the very best deep-fried rabbit you’ll ever have: Just smear the pieces with Dijon mustard and then bread them as you would for deep-frying, using milk, flour, beaten egg, bread crumbs or panko. Fry until golden brown.
– You may strain the rabbit-infused confit cooking oil and use it to make a quick vinaigrette or to roast some mushrooms to serve alongside. The oil will add another dimension of flavor.
Rabbit confit makes use of the classic technique of slowly simmering the meat in oil, until cooked through and incredibly tender. A mix of shallots, garlic, rosemary, cardamom, star anise, juniper, and more imbues the dish with stunning flavors.
Preheat the oven to 300°F (148° C). Rinse the rabbit under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
In a heavy-lidded 4-quart or larger pot or a large Dutch oven, combine the rabbit with the shallot, garlic cloves, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, star anise pods, juniper berries, cardamom pods, thyme, rosemary, mustard seeds, and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Add enough oil to cover the meat by about half an inch. Place a piece of parchment paper cut to fit your pot on the surface of the oil. Cover the pot with its lid and slide it into the oven.
Check the contents of the pot occasionally—the oil should never come to a full simmer. You may need to reduce the heat. Cook until the meat is tender but not falling apart, about 3 hours. Remove the pot from the oven. (To make the confit in advance, you can cool the rabbit to room temperature and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. You must slowly heat the pieces in confit oil in a warm oven before grilling or searing, otherwise, the center will be cold.)
Preheat a charcoal or gas grill or ridged cast-iron grill pan until hot but not smoking. Lift the pieces out of the confit oil and season with pepper. Reserve the oil until serving time. Lightly sear the meat just long enough to warm it and imbue it with a smoky char flavor (remember, the rabbit is already cooked, you just want to warm it through).
Drizzle the meat with a little of the confit oil and squeeze a wedge of lemon over it.
What can I substitute for juniper berries?
This rabbit confit recipe has loads of herbs and spices in it, so if you’re missing one you might be okay without it. Having said that, juniper berries are an interesting addition. They’re what gives gin its flavor and its name (gin being both the Dutch and French word for juniper), and the distinct taste is something rather exceptional.
However, if you can’t get any or you already know that you don’t care for the flavor (especially if you don’t care for the taste of gin), you might want to consider an alternative. Tasting of pine, with undercurrents of peppery fruit, rosemary will stand in quite well. Since this recipe already uses rosemary, you might just want to add a bit more.
In a pinch, caraway seed is also a good substitute. Generally used in sausages when juniper berries aren’t available, you should find it works well here, too.
Serving: 1portionCalories: 481kcal (24%)Carbohydrates: 9g (3%)Protein: 76g (152%)Fat: 15g (23%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 276mg (92%)Sodium: 175mg (8%)Potassium: 1434mg (41%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 178IU (4%)Vitamin C: 8mg (10%)Calcium: 105mg (11%)Iron: 13mg (72%)
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Originally published April 18, 2011