Rabbit is stuffed with spinach sautéed in butter and shallots and with liver marinated in brandy and wrapped with bacon in this gourmet recipe adapted from Bernard Clayton’s Cooking Across America.
1 rabbit (about 5 lbs.), boned with the liver reserved
3 tablespoons brandy
¼ lb. smoked bacon, diced
1 lb. fresh spinach (or thawed frozen spinach)
1 teaspoon + salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/3 cup bread crumbs
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon Pernod (licorice liqueur)
4 strips thin bacon
1 lb. fatback pork
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
½ cup chicken stock
1. Pour the brandy into a small bowl. Add the rabbit liver and a pinch of thyme. Allow this mixture to sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
2. Heat a large skillet over low. Add the diced bacon and cook until golden. Remove from the pan. Add the spinach to the pan, along with a pinch of salt. Cook until wilted. Drain and squeeze out any excess liquid. Chop.
3. Wipe the skillet clean and place over medium heat. Add the butter. When melted, add the shallots and sauté until golden. Add the spinach and cook until dry. Pour the spinach mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the bacon, bread crumbs, teaspoon of salt, pepper, and Pernod.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lay the rabbit spread out and flat on the counter. Spoon the spinach stuffing over the top of the rabbit. Chop the liver into 4 pieces. Wrap a piece of thin bacon around each piece of liver. Lay these pieces across one of the short ends of the rabbit. Roll the rabbit, so all the stuffing is covered. Wrap the rabbit roll in fatback and secure with kitchen twine.
5. Set the rabbit roll on a baking pan with the carrot, celery, and onion. If you deboned the rabbit yourself, lay the bones around the rabbit roll. Pour the brandy marinade over the rabbit roll, along with the stock. Roast for 1 hour, or until an insta-read thermometer reads 140 to 145 degrees F. Baste occasionally.
6. Remove the rabbit roll from the pan and allow to sit for 20 minutes before cutting into ½ in. slices. Serve the slices with a little pan juice spooned over the top.