Rhubarb loves local, so chef de cuisine Davis Taylor designed this recipe to combine rabbit from Sospiro Ranch in Asheville with Shakerag blue cheese from Sequatchie Cove Creamery in Sequatchie, Tennessee, and Benton’s Country Ham from Madisonville, Tennessee. He says his inspiration for the dish is based on rabbit rillettes and rabbit croquettes “presented in a way that is casual and different while still being refined.”
8 Rabbit legs
1 cup butter, melted
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 cup leeks, white part only, cut in half moons, washed
1 cup olive oil
1 quart white white
2 pounds Benton’s Country Ham, ground or finely minced
1 quart duck fat
8 sprigs thyme
1½ cup flour
2 quarts milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ pound blue cheese, such as Shakerag blue
3 heads garlic, sliced
1 cup currants
Hot sauce, for serving
Worcestershire sauce, for serving
Saltines, for serving
Chow chow, for serving
- Season rabbit quarters with salt and pepper liberally. Brown in rondeaux to golden brown on all sides and remove from the pan.
- Add carrots, celery and leeks to the same pan with a little olive oil and sweat until soft. Deglaze with white wine, then add ground country ham.
- Add the rabbit back to the pot along with the duck fat, thyme and a little more salt and pepper braise in 325 degree oven till fall apart tender about 2.5 hours. Remove from oven. Let cool in braising liquid for at least an hour before proceeding.
- Shred the meat nicely, discard the bones, and make sure that there are no bones left in the meat. Add the shredded meat back to the pot.
- Make a blue cheese mornay: In a heavy bottom sauce pan, add oil and flour and whisk well to make a roux. Add the milk and cream and whisk well. Once the mixture becomes hot, it will start to thicken. Continue to whisk until very thick, then turn heat off and add blue cheese. Incorporate well.
- In a separate container mix the rabbit and vegetable mixture with the blue cheese sauce and currants. There should be some liquid left in the pan with the rabbit.
- Season with salt, hot sauce, and Worcestershire. Serve with chow chow and saltines.
Recipe ByDavis Taylor of Rhubarb in Asheville, North Carolina