1 whole cleaned rabbit, 21⁄2 – 3 pounds (available from online sellers including D’Artagnan)
For the brine:
10 cups water
10 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 sage leaves
10 crushed peppercorns
The night before you plan to cook the rabbit, combine the brine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to cool completely and transfer to a glass bowl. Submerge the rabbit completely (giblets removed) and refrigerate overnight. Don’t skip this step, as the brining helps prevent the rabbit from drying out while cooking.
For the stuffing:
1 tablespoon butter
rabbit giblets, chopped (should be included with rabbit)
1 cup fennel, chopped
1 shallot, minced
5 sage leaves
3⁄4 pound ground pork
Dash salt and pepper
For roasting the rabbit:
Butter, softened, and olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup dry white wine
Make the stuffing: Saute the giblets, fennel and shallots in the butter over medium heat. Add the pork, sage leaves and salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink. Set aside.
To roast the rabbit: Remove the rabbit from the brine and pat dry. Slather it with butter and olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the stuffing and tie closed with butcher’s twine. Place in a roasting pan just big enough to hold it and pour the wine over top. Roast in a 400-degree oven for 90 minutes, basting every 15 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before carving. To serve, cut up much like a chicken: remove the front and back legs at the joint and cut the saddle (the body) into rounds. Serve drizzled with mustard sauce (recipe below).
1⁄4 cup of the rabbit pan drippings
2 heaping tablespoons coarse grain mustard
3 heaping tablespoons creme fraiche
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until warm.