Marinated Oven-Grilled Rabbit with Roasted Vegetables
Whenever I eat rabbit, I think back to this one Bugs Bunny episode where the king keeps demanding Hasenpfefer! Where's my hasenpfeffer? Before that, I never knew rabbits were edible. I mean Elmer Fudd just seemed like he was there 'cause Bugs needed a foil.
As with many cultural references, I experienced the Bugs Bunny version first: to this day I remember learning that the real title of Elmer Fudd's anthem, "Kill the Wabbit" was indeed Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyries", that funny, myopic Asian guy with the bucked teeth was actually General Tojo, the leader of Japan during World War II. (Amazing to see the kind of racial stereotyping only 60 years ago) and the super strong working mom with the unruly brat babysat by Bugs was Rosie the Riveter, archetype of female factory workers during the war.
So I was in full nostalgia mode the other day when I made this oven-grilled rabbit, heavily adapted from Rosengarten's Dean & Deluca cookbook: Their idea was a summery marinated, outdoor-grilled rabbit with aioli. I turned it into an oven-grilled winter dish with lots of crispy-brown root veggies.
1 whole rabbit, cut into serving pieces (by your husband who knows how to do such things)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp thyme
3 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
red wine just to cover
olive oil for drizzling
1/2 pound bacon
roughly chopped root vegetables such as: carrots, red onions, turnips, potatoes, fennel (ok, so fennel's a fat stem and not a root, so sue me)
Place the rabbit and the next 7 ingredients in a bowl or zip lock bag (with the zip lock, you can add much less wine and still get the same marinading effect) and let marinate in the fridge over night. Next day, pre-heat oven to 425°F. Wipe off the rabbit pieces reserving the marinade, wrap each one in bacon, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and arrange on a grill fitted with an under-tray where you can put half the veggies (see image). Add a bit more olive oil (to your taste and calorie limits) to the marinade and toss with the roughly-chopped root vegetables. Arrange on wide oven trays or baking dishes. I did 2 layers in the oven. Roast/grill for about 45 minutes (stirring the vegetables a couple times) or until everything is browned and crispy. Music to roast rabbit by: "Kill the Wabbit" sung by Elmer Fudd, composed by Herr Richard Wagner.