Braised Rabbit – Makes 4 servings

4 front and 4 hind legs of Rabbit
2 cups of canned tomatoes
1 onion sliced
4 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 bunch of time sprigs
1 bottle of red wine
64 oz of chicken stock
2 tbs salt
2 tbs black pepper
1 cup polenta
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups of shiitake mushrooms, sliced and stems removed
1/2 cup whole unsalted butter
1 quart canola oil, to fry polenta cakes
2 tbs chopped parsley, for garnish

Season the rabbit legs with a little salt and pepper, sear in a hot pan until both sides are lightly golden brown. Place the rabbit in a 4 inch deep pan so that there is enough room for the liquid to fit. In the same pan that the rabbit was cooked in add the bottle red wine, reduce by half, then add the chicken stock, bring to a boil then pour into the pan with the rabbit. Sauté the onion and the garlic in the same pan until just translucent, add that mixture along with the canned tomatoes to the rabbit. Top with the whole thyme sprigs. Cover with foil and cook at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
While the rabbit is cooking assemble the polenta, in a pot add the 1/4 cup of butter and vegetable broth to a pan, bring to a boil add the polenta, stir, turn heat to low and cover. Cook until done, about 25-30 minutes. When the polenta is thick like oatmeal spread it out onto a cookie sheet pan and cool completely. Once cool cut into desired shapes. Now your polenta is ready to fry.
When the rabbit is done, remove the thyme sprigs and throw away, place the rest of the liquid in a pot, add the sliced mushrooms and reduce by half, finish by adding the remaining 1/4 cup of butter, bring a boil once again, cook another 5 minutes, the sauce should be slightly thick and the butter completely melted.
To assemble this dish start by frying the polenta cakes in 360 degree oil for 1 1/2 minutes, drain on a paper towel when done. Place a front leg and a back leg in a bowl top with about 8 oz of sauce, add the crispy polenta cakes and garnish with a little of the parsley. Enjoy!

Norma Buchholz