Apple Cider Braised Rabbit with Root Vegetables

Enjoy the bounty of the harvest—mushrooms, tomatoes, beets, peppers, parsnips, apples and other goodies—in hearty, satisfying dishes and beloved classic fare, from pizza to mac and cheese.

This recipe and photo, courtesy of Foodland Ontario, will inspire you to eat your fresh veggies and fruit, in all the best ways.

Enjoy rabbit (or chicken thighs) enhanced with the sweetness of apples and parsnips. Ask your local butcher to cut the rabbit for you and savour this seasonal treat.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Baking Time: 1 hour
Serves 4

2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil
4 slices Ontario bacon, cut into 1-1/2-inch (4 cm) pieces
2 Ontario apples, such as Cortland, Idared or Crispin, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
2 Ontario parsnips, cut into 1-inch (2 cm) pieces
2 Ontario turnips, peeled and cut into 6 wedges each
4 cloves Ontario garlic, peeled and smashed
1 small Ontario onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1-1/2 kg Ontario rabbit, cut into 8 pieces or 8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
2 cups (500 mL) sweet Ontario apple cider
2 cups (500 mL) chicken broth
Pinch ground nutmeg

In large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add bacon; cook until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet; place in 13×9-inch (3 L) baking dish. Reserving fat in skillet, heat over medium heat. In batches, add apples, parsnips and turnips; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove; add to baking dish. To same skillet, add garlic and onion. Cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from skillet; add to baking dish.

Season rabbit with salt and pepper; dust with flour, shaking off excess. Add rabbit to same skillet; brown on both sides over medium-high heat. Arrange in baking dish.

Add apple cider to skillet; using wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits stuck to the skillet. Add broth, nutmeg and pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to boil over high heat. Pour over rabbit in baking dish. Cover with foil leaving small 1-inch (2.5 cm) openings in the foil in two corners. Bake in 325°F (160°C) oven for 50 to 60 minutes until rabbit is tender. Serve with roasted or mashed potatoes.

Nutritional information:
1 serving
PROTEIN: 41 grams
FAT: 13 grams
FIBRE: 6 grams
SODIUM: 560 mg