Rabbit cooked in Champagne - well, no-one is going to buy a bottle of Champagne just to use a glass in a rabbit stew! But, if you were planning on having Champagne, you might appropriate a glass for the kitchen - it makes a wonderful dish. This is about the flavours of the wine marrying with rabbit, a meat much appreciated in France. There are a lot of rabbits in the champagne area, so this just puts to good use local ingredients. I really recommend this recipe, and if a Champagne is not to hand, substitute another dry sparkling wine or a still chardonnay.
FOR 6 PEOPLE
1 large rabbit, jointed 1 tablespoon butter 12 small onions or 1 medium onion
1 tablespoon plain flour 1 glass of Champagne thyme bay leaf salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the butter in a flameproof casserole over a medium heat and brown the pieces of rabbit in it well.
Add the peeled onions (if you cannot get small pickling-type onions, use a finely sliced, medium onion) and cook till soft.
Sprinkle with flour, turning the pieces of rabbit so they are well coated and the flour browns.
Add a glass of champagne, stirring as it bubbles, in order to deglaze the pan. As the flour and wine thicken, add enough water to barely cover the meat. Add a pinch of dried thyme, or several sprigs if it is fresh, and a bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer slowly for about an hour until tender. Serve with steamed potatoes or rice.