Rabbit with Mushrooms
This is an adaptation of a recipe that was first published in my father’s book, Pleasures of the Good Earth (Knopf, 1991). It was my grandfather’s recipe. He used the honey mushroom that my father finally rediscovered after decades of remembering. This recipe calls for elephant beans, a Greek import that is notoriously difficult to find. You can omit them, or you can call the International Grocery, at 543 Ninth Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets in New York City (212) 279-1000.
1 rabbit (about 3 lbs), cut into serving pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 cups wild mushrooms, sliced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups elephant beans that have been soaked overnight, and boiled in salted water until tender
Season all the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper. In a well-ventilated space, heat a large iron skillet over a medium heat until it is very hot. Add the rabbit pieces and sprinkle with rosemary. Sear the rabbit, tuning often, until they begin to brown. This produces a lot of smoke. It’s okay. The rabbit won’t stick. Add the garlic and olive oil and continue cooking until the rabbit is golden brown all over. Add the mushrooms and wine, cover, and lower the heat. Simmer until the wine reduces to about half the volume (it will look more like gravy than wine). Add the tomatoes, cover and continue simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the cooked beans and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, moving around the piece of rabbit and beans occasionally. Let the rabbit stand for 15 minutes before serving.
I like to serve this dish with a stew of bitter greens like rape, brussel sprouts, and escarole cooked with garlic and hot pepper.