Braised Rabbit Chihuahua Quesadillas with Guajillo Tomatillo Salsa

Braised Rabbit:

1 Rabbit
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, medium dice
2 small or 1 large celery stalk, medium dice
2 small or 1 large carrot, medium dice
1/4 lb button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved, or 1 tomato, medium dice (but in January, grape tomatoes are the only ones that have any chance of flavor)
1 cup white wine 2 cups chicken stock (rabbit stock would be even better if you happen to have that on hand.  Yeah, me either)
salt and pepper to taste
bay leaf

For those of you who are not squeamish and have no idea what to look for – here’s a raw rabbit.  I got mine at HarvesTime.  Love that place.  You can ask your butcher.

For those of you who follow the blog, or have braised before, standard braising procedure.  For those that don’t or need a refresher –

Preheat oven safe high-sided pan with lid to medium-high.  Preheat oven to 325. Liberally season rabbit. (I had to cut mine in half to fit).  Sear to deep brown on as many sides as you can.

Rabbits are not square, so, yeah, do the best you can.  Remove meat to lid of pan, and add vegetables and a heavy pinch o’ salt.

Saute until lightly caramelized. Add wine.  Reduce by at least half, or until dry if desired, to intensify wine flavor.  Add stock.  Bring to boil, reduce to simmer.  Add meat back and any juice that have collected in the lid.

Pop lid on pan and put in oven.  Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, turning at 45 minutes, until a fork slides in the meat and pulls out without resistance.  Remove meat from pan.  Rest for 15 minutes.  Shred with two forks.

Now at this point, you can just put the rabbit back in the liquid, taste for seasoning, adjust, and have a great rabbit stew.

OR

you can remove bay leaf and then ladle the liquid into a blender or food processor, veggies and all, and pulse until combined.  Add liquid back to pan, add rabbit, toss to coat.

for quesadillas:

servings 4

1 braised rabbit in liquid
1/2 lb chihuahua cheese
2 scallions sliced thin on a heavy bias
8 corn tortillas (you can make them if you want)
vegetable oil as needed

Heat pan or griddle to medium heat.  Lay tortilla down and top with 1/4 of the rabbit meat, 1/4 of the cheese, and 1/8 of the scallions, reserving half of the scallions for garnish.

Top with another tortilla.  Add enough veg oil to cover the bottom of a pan, then add the littlest bit more.  Carefully lay quesadillas in pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, until crispy and brown.  Flip and repeat, adding more oil if needed.  Remove to cutting board, allow to cool 1 minute.  Cut into quarters and serve with crema, guajillo salsa verde (recipe to follow).  Try to eat with any reserve whatsoever.  Rabbit is slightly less gamy than goat, but more than pork.  Just as succulent. Nom, nom, nom.

Guajillo Salsa Verde

4 medium tomatillos
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
juice of 1 small lime
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons cilantro
Guajillo paste to taste
1 tablespoon crema
salt to taste

Char the tomatillos, onion, and garlic in a dry pan.  Cut into large dice and place in a blender with cilantro, guajillo paste, lime juice, crema and salt.  Blend until smooth.

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