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Rabbit Pilau

Hands-on time 1 hr, 20 mins
Total time 3 hrs
Yield Makes 6 to 8 servings
Want to use chicken instead of rabbit in Frank Stitt's braise? Substitute 3 lb. chicken parts and increase salt to 1 1/2 tsp.


  • Rabbit
  • 1 tablespoon dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 (2 1/2-lb.) rabbit, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 1 medium leek
  • 6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Kitchen string
  • Pilau
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice, rinsed
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

How to Make It

  1. Prepare Rabbit: Preheat oven to 300°. Bring dried mushrooms and 1/2 cup chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle rabbit with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook rabbit, in 2 batches, in hot oil in a heavy ovenproof skillet or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes on each side or until deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan, reserving drippings in skillet.

  3. Add carrots and garlic to reserved drippings in skillet, and sauté 4 minutes or until carrots are softened. Stir in wine, port, mushroom mixture, and remaining 2 cups broth; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Skim off foam and fat.

  4. Remove and discard root end of leek; remove dark green top of leek. Tie together green leek top, parsley sprigs, and next 2 ingredients with kitchen string. Add herb bundle and rabbit to skillet; bring to a simmer, and cover.

  5. Braise at 300° for 15 minutes. Transfer rabbit loin pieces to wire rack in jelly-roll pan. Braise remaining rabbit 30 more minutes. Transfer remaining rabbit to wire rack; cool 15 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, bring liquid in skillet to a simmer over medium heat, and cook 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Skim off foam and fat. Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a small saucepan; discard solids. Cover and keep warm over low heat.

  7. Remove rabbit from bones; shred with 2 forks. Discard bones.

  8. Prepare Pilau: Cut reserved leek in half lengthwise; rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove grit and sand. Cut leek into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

  9. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrots, next 2 ingredients, and leek; sauté 2 minutes or until onions and leek just begin to soften. Add rice, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 15 minutes or until rice is tender and broth has been absorbed.

  10. Stir rabbit into rice; transfer to a platter. Whisk remaining 2 Tbsp. butter into warm braising liquid. Spoon liquid over pilau before serving.

Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL