Rabbit Braised in Belgian Ale

Rabbit, seared and braised with onions, celery root, and Belgian ale.
Ingredients

Main Course
  • One 2 1/2 to 3 pound rabbit, cut into 6 to 7 serving pieces (2 front legs, 2 back legs, the loin cut into 2 to 3 pieces), plus ribs and flap meat
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour for dredging
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium onions, sliced stem to root (about 2 1/2 cups sliced)
  • 4-6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen string (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 1/2 cups of Belgian ale, such as Chimay or Ommengang
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 celery root, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons whole grained mustard
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

For the soup:
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 2 whole cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets (See How to Cut and Core Cauliflower)
  • 3 cups peeled and diced celeriac (from 1 large root)
  • 8 cups vegetable broth, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Directions
  • Place rabbit pieces on a platter, sprinkle both sides with kosher salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Place flour on plate. Dredge rabbit pieces in flour. Heat oil and butter in a large  Dutch oven on medium heat (large enough to fit rabbit pieces in a single layer). Once the butter is melted and foamy, add the rabbit pieces in a single layer to the pot.  Brown on one side without stirring for 5 to 6 minutes. Then turn the pieces over and brown on the other side. Remove to a plate.
  • Add the sliced onions to the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown, scraping up and browned rabbit bits from the bottom of the pot. Add garlic cloves and thyme, cook until onions are soft and the garlic quite fragrant.
  • Increase the heat to high and add the Belgian ale. Let it simmer for a minute or two, then add the stock. Add a half teaspoon of salt and the freshly ground black pepper.
  • Place the diced celery root over the onions in a single layer. Place the browned rabbit pieces over the  celery root. Bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to maintain a very low simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, or until the rabbit is just cooked through and tender.
  • Remove rabbit pieces from the pot and keep warm on a platter. Increase the heat to high and reduce the liquid by one third. Then, reduce the heat to low, stir in the mustard and sugar. Taste and add more salt and pepper in needed. Slice the flap meat pieces of the rabbit into strips and return to the pot. Strip away any available meat from the back and chest parts and return meat to the pot. Add the serving pieces to the pot. Cover and let rewarm for a minute. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve. Serve with crusty bread, egg noodles, or rice pilaf, along with some Belgian ale.

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