Saddle of Rabbit with Herb Polenta

rabbit with polentaOnce again, we got to have a meal without buying any groceries – imagine that!  I’ve only been to the store once all week.  I always tell people, if there’s a natural disaster (or the zombie apocalypse), come to my parents house, where there is enough food to feed an army!  We were going to have this rabbit last night, but it was still frozen, so we had some store-bought ravioli that were in the fridge with butter and sage.  By tonight, the bunnies were thawed, so we made them.  Well, mostly my mom did the rabbit, and I did the polenta.  When I was in Italy one time, about 8 years ago maybe, I bought a copper polenta pot that has a stirrer attachment.  I had to buy a converter, since Italy is on a different electrical current, but it works beautifully.  Unfortunately, that is at my house. Here, I had to stir the polenta by hand.  This is how Italian women get their muscles.  Not for the weak, but so worth the effort.  According to my mom, this is a special polenta, although I have no idea what brand it is, as it was in a glass jar in her fridge.  No, you don’t have to keep polenta in the fridge, but she does.  I think it is because she is afraid of bugs getting into it – you’d have to ask her.  And I’m sure she’ll comment after I post this.

For the rabbit:

3 saddles of rabbit
3-4 tbsp butter
1 sprig rosemary
salt
pepper
marsala
white wine

  • Preheat the oven to 380 convection (about 395 regular)
  • Place the rabbit in a baking dish.  Sprinkle the rabbit with salt and pepper, dot with butter, and put some of the rosemary on each piece.

preparing rabbit

  • Pour some marsala (about 1/2 cup – mom, correct me if this is wrong… we don’t really measure) and white wine (same amount) over and around the rabbit.
  • Cook for about 45 minutes, until rabbit is done and nicely browned.
For the polenta:
1 cup polenta
4 cups water or stock
salt
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
  • Heat the water or stock in a pot till boiling.  Add some salt (start with about 1 tbsp).  Make a whirlpool in the water with a whisk and slowly stir in the polenta (this is so that you don’t get any lumps).  Switch to a wooden spoon and stir.  As it comes back to a boil, turn the heat down so that you have a constant very low simmer – you should see some bubbles come up, but not too many.  It will begin to thicken after just a few minutes.  Continue to stir.  And stir.  And stir.  You may stir slowly, but you want to keep the polenta moving at least a bit.  Taste it and adjust the salt if needed.
  • Meanwhile, add the herbs, smashed garlic, and cream to a small pan and heat slowly.

herbs

  • After you have been stirring for about 35 minutes, taste for doneness.  It should be smooth and creamy.  At this point, remove from heat and strain the cream into the polenta, discarding the herbs and garlic.  Add the cheese and stir together.

polenta

Serve immediately.  Any leftovers can be turned into a number of delicious dishes.  I like to spread it out into a thin layer, refrigerate, and then fry wedges in a pan.  Or, as mom just suggested since we have a lot left, use it for a polenta lasagna.  I will post that recipe when we make it.  Basically, I take thin layers of cooked polenta and alternate it with tomato sauce and meat sauce, and top it with parm.  Another great winter meal!

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