It was both my mom’s rustic cooking and her healthy appetite that made my father fall in love with my mother, but it was her rabbit in paprika sauce that made him get down on one knee. This humble stew was a touchstone dish in our home and whenever my sister or I brought a gentleman caller home – my parents would prepare the rabbit dish to see if it (and the boyfriend) passed muster. If the dish didn’t fly, neither did the guy.
My mom, who has moved from Santa Monica to New York for a year to be closer to her granddaughters, was tickled to see that we have fresh rabbit at the market. This week Letterbox Farm is bringing lots of fresh rabbits which they are selling whole at $9 a pound.
If you’ve never cooked rabbit, and don’t have a family recipe of your own, here are a couple recipes for inspiration. This rabbit stew from Food52 is the perfect dish to usher in fall.
This NY Times recipe for rabbit loin with bitter greens has a lighter touch. Another classic French way to prepare rabbit is Lapin a la Moutarde (Rabbit in Mustard Sauce) and this Saveur magazine recipe nails it.
In a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven sweat two chopped onions. Place the cut-up rabbit atop the onions, add a cup of fresh chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce, then cover the contents of the pot generously with paprika. Add salt and pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon and let simmer, lid on, for about an hour. Right before serving add some heavy cream or half and half to the pot and stir well. Serve with mashed potatoes or pappardelle.
It’s concord grape season and if you’ve always wondered what to do with these super sweet grapes that are great for your arteries, check out this recipe for grape and rosemary focaccia from Smitten Kitchen.
Asian Farmer is back this Saturday with some fantastic new dumplings. We are so happy to have him back.
See you at the market!
Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)