Classic Lapin Au Vin – A Rustic Stew Recipe
Lapin au vin is a rustic stew based upon the French classic, coq au vin. The vegetables and rabbit are slowly braised in a rich broth of chicken stock and white wine. The real secret behind this recipe and many other similar French recipes is the practice of stewing the meat in the wine. While the chicken version can be traced all the way back to Roman times, when France was joined with Gaul, rabbit has also been a common ingredient. Since rabbits could be caught anytime, they may have been a more common dish. The French actually have many recipes for rabbit; this is just one that is especially tasty.
It is very important to remember to braise the rabbit slowly over low or medium heat. Cooking too quickly during browning can make the meat stringy and dry. Since rabbit is not cooked in the skin like chicken, there is no natural fat to moisten the meat as it cooks. Adding some acidic liquid to the braising pot will help to tenderize the meat, and adding fat, as we suggest in the recipe, keeps it moist and tender. Take your time during the browning phase and let it cook gradually. Rushing will create a tasteless, dry result.
Serve lapin au vin on its own or with some fragrant French bread. A green salad would also help cut a little of the richness of the sauce. This is an excellent recipe for diners who are not sure they want to eat rabbit. The meat is tender and full of flavor. Since it is all cut up, there are no reminders of what everyone is really eating. You can also make this recipe with red wine, if you prefer. Both versions are very tasty. Use the wine you like to drink. Never make a dish like this with cooking wine. Always use drinking wine instead.
Classic Lapin Au Vin – A Rustic Stew Recipe
Summary: Use rabbit and vegetables for a robust and rustic stew, adding pork bacon and wine to fortify those wonderful meaty flavors. This is a rich and satisfying stew.
- ½ cup carrot, cut into cubes
- ½ cup celery, sliced
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 6 bone-in rabbit hindquarters and chunked loin meat
- 1-½ cups potatoes, chopped
- ¾ pound pork bacon
- 2 cups white wine
- 3 Tablespoons fresh marjoram, chopped
- Chicken stock
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove any fat or silver skin from the rabbit meat.
- Slice bacon into small pieces. Place them in a dry skillet and cook them over medium-low until the fat is rendered out. Remove the bacon from the pan when it is crisp but not crunchy. Let it drain on paper towels. Leave the rendered fat in the pan, heating it to medium.
- Add the rabbit meat to the pan and brown them on all sides. Remove the rabbit and set it aside. Put the onion, carrot, celery, and mushrooms in the skillet. Brown them, stirring once in a while as needed.
- Use the white wine to deglaze the pan, and then add the potatoes and marjoram. Add enough chicken stock to just cover the ingredients. Simmer the stew and place the rabbit pieces into the mixture so they are at least partially covered by the liquid. Mix in any drippings that have gathered on the platter the rabbit was resting on.
- Cover the pan with a lid and place it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the rabbit is cooked all the way through. Partway through the cooking time, check the stew for consistency. Add chicken broth if necessary if it looks dry.
- When the rabbit is done, check the stew again. Add more broth if necessary and bring it to a quick simmer on the stove.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
Culinary tradition: French
This is a very rich stew made with rabbit. Based upon the classic French coq au vin, lapin au vin uses many of the same techniques to create a succulent rabbit stew. We have added earthy mushrooms, sweet carrots, and tender potatoes to this stew to make a meal in a pot. The rabbit will soak up the combined flavors, creating a delicacy you will not believe. True to form for many French stews, this recipe is full of amazing flavor that will make you want seconds. The rich taste is perfect on its own or served with a side of mashed potatoes or rice.
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