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Rabbit Confit

Posted by on July 15, 2013

An adaptation of the classic French duck confit, this simple rabbit confit (Frenchly pronounced kōn-ˈfē) is ideal as a delicious meal. The stripped-down version that I have so wonderfully adapted for you uses minimal ingredients to streamline the preparation process without sacrificing worlds of flavor.

Rabbit, depending on its origin, can closely resemble chicken in texture, taste, and appearance. Wild rabbit tastes and feels gamier (and probably is more sustainable) than poultrylike farmed rabbit. Either can be used for this recipe, with similar results. The confited rabbit meat will melt off the the bone with extraordinary texture and predictably savory taste. If you’re intimidated by eating rabbit, think of it as chicken, or actually use chicken in this recipe with no consequences.

Adapted from Leite’s Culinaria.

Ingredients

  • 1 rabbit, cut up
  • 1/4 cup kosher/other coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 4 cups bacon fat/lard/duck fat/peanut oil, or similar, or combination

Directions

One to two days before cooking, cut up the rabbit. Salt both sides of the rabbit pieces with 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1 tablespoon white sugar. Place in a glass dish or bowl, covered, until you’re ready to cook (one to two days, no more).

Preheat the oven to 250° Fahrenheit. Heat the fat on the stove over medium-high heat in a dutch oven or thick-bottomed, oven-safe pot. While the fat is melting, rinse and dry the salted rabbit. Add the meat to the now-warm fat, arranging the pieces in a single layer and covered in fat.

Cover and place in the oven for three hours. Check regularly in the first half-hour to adjust the heat so the oil remains at a simmer (one bubble every few seconds). Check occasionally for the next two and a half hours.

Confit is not the same as frying. If you understand analogies, figure this one out:

Confit : Fry :: Braise : Boil

If you didn’t get that, we’re cooking this rabbit low and slow. After 3 hours, the meat should reach peak tenderness without falling apart too much.

At this point, you have two options.

  1. Save for later. Remove the pot from the oven, let cool, then refrigerate the rabbit (in fat) for as long as you want (typically no more than a month; preserving in fat is the traditional method). Prepare the rabbit for eating by moving to option #2.
  2. Preheat a grill to high. Oil the grates, possibly with the confit fat. Grill for 2 minutes per side, to crisp and impart extra smoky flavor in the confit.

Makes enough for 3. Pairs delightfully with green stuff to contrast the heaviness of the meat.

Rabbit Confit

Do it.

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