Sunday, 19 May 2013

What's Your Game?

Coniglio con Sugo di Fichi & Brandy, Polenta & Radicchio
Rabbit with Fig & Brandy Gravy, Polenta & Radicchio

Rabbit may not be for everybody... but that's ok! It leaves more of it for us to enjoy, right? It is not as if any of us eats rabbit that regularly, so for me at least, it is always a real treat when I get to enjoy it... even if I do have to make it myself!

I decided to try-out making a sauce using the classic gravy ingredients of onion, celery and carrot, but to refine it by introducing dried fig, fresh rosemary and thyme into the mix and a nice splash of brandy to enhance and define the flavor... a gamble that even if I DO say so myself... paid off! And how! Especially with a caramelized radicchio and some rosemary-garlic Polenta slices- this was a lovely rich meal that I would hope you would all be game to try out!

I started the rabbit off by frying it briefly in a little clarified butter, just to get some aroma developing, then dusted it lightly with flour before adding the usual suspects of carrot, celery and onion, along with a handful of thyme, a little crushed garlic and of course salt and pepper. After 2-3 minutes at a relatively high heat, I deglazed the pan with a good shot of brandy and enough boiling water to cover the base of the pan. I added a sliced dried fig into the mix, 1 bay leaf and a couple of strips of orange peel for a good aroma. And then I added enough white wine to cover the rabit half-way, popped on the lid and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. This was only a small piece of meat to be honest and did not take much time... for a full rabbit you would probably need around 2 hours to get the meat to be succulent and tender.  

Whilst the rabbit was simmering away, I took 3 nice slices of firm polenta and began to fry it at a gentle heat, also in clarified butter, with a little salt, pepper and a hint of nutmeg and just a touch of crushed garlic. After 4-5 minutes on each side, I added some fine rosemary leaves to give the polenta a rich, full flavor... and was almost ready to serve up supper...

...but not quite! 

I took the remaining vegetables and thyme, together with half of the dried fig slices which were by now very soft and tender and pressed them through a sieve. This, together with the juices in the pan, became a wonderful gravy in next to no time! There was just enough flour on the rabbit in the initial stages that the gravy thickened up nicely- thinking ahead makes sense!

The last component was the radicchio, which I prepared by dipping the cut surface in olive oil on a dish, then into another dish with powdered sugar and finally into a really hot pan. The radicchio almost immediately wilted up a little and browned off before my very eyes, and that was when I added a splash of boiling water and popped on the lid for it to steam for the remaining 2-3 minutes until I had served up the rest.

So there you go! Something different and delicious for you and yours to enjoy... and I certainly hope you do as much as I did!


  1. Wow, this looks mouth-watering, and very elegant!

    1. Thanks for the kind words Frank! Actually it was very simple- drove me crazy that I got careless carrying the plate and made the sauce "slosh" around, lol! Glad you liked it all the same my friend! Francesco

    2. Happens to me all the time. Thank goodness for paper towels...