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Recipe: Braised Rabbit and Cherries in Beer

Belgians are famous for cooking with beer. They also use dried fruits, especially cherries and prunes, in stews. This sweet, rich, and satisfying dish is a splendid example of how cherry beer and dried cherries marry with rabbit or other game meats. The final splash of balsamic really makes the tastes sparkle. Serve it over spaetzle or with boiled potatoes.

Ingredients

Serves
4
  • 1 rabbit (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds), cut into 6 to 8 pieces
  • Salt  and ground black pepper
  • Flour for coating, plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 thick slices bacon, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 large onion, cut into medium dice
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) cherry beer, such as John Adams Cherry White or Belgian Kriek Lambic
  • 1 1/2 ounces Glace de Gibier Gold® dissolved in 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries or cherry-flavored cranberries
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus additional whole leaves for garnish
  • 3 1/2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thickly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, plus additional to taste

Methods/steps

  1. Season the rabbit pieces liberally with salt and pepper, then coat them with flour, shaking off any excess. Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the rabbit pieces until they are golden brown on both sides, working in batches if necessary.  Set aside, loosely covered with aluminum foil.
  2. Add the bacon to the pan and cook until the pieces begin to separate. Stir in the onion and cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent, stirring often.
  3. Return the rabbit to the pan, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the rabbit and onions, and sauté another 3 to 4 minutes, turning from time to time.
  4. Slowly stir in the beer, scraping up any browned cooking bits from the pan.
  5. Add diluted the Glace de Gibier Gold®, cherries, parsley, sage, and mushrooms. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Stir in balsamic vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper as needed  Serve the rabbit with the braising liquid spooned over it, garnished with fresh sage leaves.

Additional Tips

A 2 1/2- to 3-pound chicken, cut into 6 to 8 pieces, may be substituted for the rabbit.

Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir or Chianti.  Another good choice would be the cherry beer used in the dish!

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Classic French Stocks and Sauces