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Braised Rabbit Gnocchi with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Braised Rabbit Gnocchi with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Rabbit gnocchi with mushroom cream sauce

Bring some variety into the kitchen with this versatile mushroom cream sauce that pairs well with upland and small game

There were several seasons prior to owning a dog when I headed afield for upland birds and returned home with rabbit. I never complained because rabbit is, in my opinion, great table fare. Like squirrel, it can be tough if not cooked properly. In addition, because it is lean, it is possible for it to dry out. Brining and braising in liquids helps to avoid this.

Please note that while this recipe calls for rabbit, you can use this sauce-and-gnocchi combo for any upland, white-flesh game. This sauce may very well become a household favorite for many dishes, even fish. This recipe opts for store-bought gnocchi; perhaps homemade gnocchi is a recipe for another time.

The steps below call for a crock pot, but you could also use a self-basting Dutch oven in the oven at 200 degrees F for several hours. Just make certain that the rabbit remains half-submerged in liquids and that the liquids don’t completely evaporate. Give the rabbit enough time via either method—crock pot or Dutch oven—and the meat will easily fall off the bone. Just make sure to dig out and discard the bones prior to serving.

As with any cream sauce, it requires time to reduce until it’s thick. This will likely take upwards of an hour or longer, so plan accordingly. Have patience and it’ll taste amazing.

Ingredients for Four Servings

One rabbit, approximately 2 to 2½ pounds

1 cup chicken stock

½ cup Coca-Cola

16-24 ounces gnocchi (depends on how much gnocchi you want per person)

For the brine:

1 gallon cold water

½ cup kosher salt

½ cup white sugar

½ cup whole black peppercorns

1 cup fresh garlic, smashed

8 ounces fresh ginger, smashed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons salted butter, mixed use

1½ cups beef stock

½ cup sherry cooking wine

2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic

½ medium onion, finely minced

8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms

1 pint heavy whipping cream

Kosher salt and ground black pepper, mixed

Freshly minced parsley for garnish (optional)

Shredded Parmesan for garnish (optional)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Follow brine instructions and brine rabbit for 24 hours. Be certain to thoroughly rinse under cold water afterward.
  2. Either roast or smoke rabbit at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour or sear quickly over a hot fire.
  3. Place rabbit in crock pot heated on low with 1 cup chicken stock and ½ cup Coca-Cola and cook for 8 hours or until meat falls tenderly off bone. Be careful about picking out bones, especially when serving to little ones. Shred the meat and remove bones, but leave meat in crock pot on warm hold until ready to serve.
  4. To make sauce, add 1 tablespoon salted butter to saucepan heated on medium-low. Once melted, add 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic.
  5. Stir garlic for 2-3 minutes in heated butter until it releases aroma, then add 1½ cups beef stock and ½ cup sherry cooking wine. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
  6. Once liquids reduce to half, add 1 pint heavy whipping cream. Stir often, allowing cream to reduce to one third of its volume. Do not let it boil over.
  7. In a separate skillet heated on medium, add 1 tablespoon salted butter along with finely diced onion. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
  8. Once onions are browned, add mushrooms and stir often, allowing moisture to cook off for approximately 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add to cream sauce and continue to reduce cream sauce until it is thick. The sauce should turn darker and stick to spoon when dipped and held upside down.
  9. To cook gnocchi, boil a pot of water and add gnocchi. Cook until gnocchi floats to top, approximately 6-8 minutes.
  10. To serve, add gnocchi to plate or bowl and top with shredded rabbit and sauce. Garnish with freshly minced parsley and shredded Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy! Reach out to me on Instagram (@WildGameJack) with any questions or comments and be sure to check out my other wild game recipes and cooking instructions here.

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