Rabbit with cherry beer and preserved cherries
I live in #1 beer country, so every now and then I use beer in cooking. Here it's a cherry beer, which is more complicated to make than it seems. It all starts with brewing "lambic" beer, fermented in open containers, allowing the brewery's airborn wild yeasts to do their thing. The fermentation goes on with adding fresh ripe cherries. After filtering, it needs to rest in oak barrels for a long time. And there you go, cherry beer, a true refreshing delight for the next summer.
The cherry beer I used is quite a commercial one, there are far better than that one. However, this "Mort Subite" is perfect enough for my stew. A propos, "mort subite" means "sudden death" in english, funny, but a tiny bit over the top if you ask me.
Anyway, you also need preserved sour cherries in a light sugar syrup; a not too sweet watery syrup is perfect.
You need a cooking pot (your Creuset or other cast-iron pot will do nicely) and a pan.
- sweat onion, garlic and thyme for a good 10 minutes on low fire in a cooking pot
- use a pan to brown the pieces of meat -in batches- on medium high, season well, then transfer them to the cooking pot on top of the onions
- when all meat is browned, add a tbsp of flour to the pan (add a little more fat first if necessary). Let cook for a while. Add a bottle of cherry beer and scrape all tasty frying sediment off that is still stuck on the bottom of the pan. Add the now hot beer to the cooking pot, pouring it over the rabbit
- add some of the syrup from the cherries. Add some veal stock or water until all meat is just covered.
- simmer for 45 minutes. Add the cherries. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Check the meat with the point of a knife for doneness. If necessary add another 15 minutes cooking time.
- If the sauce is still a little thin, pour it off into the pan and reduce a little. Check seasoning. Pour the sauce back over the meat.
Serve with boiled potato, a must since ultra-delicious to crush them in the sauce on your plate! Another traditional addition is homemade rustic chunky apple sauce. Use sweeter apples like Jonagold, 1/4 cup of water, a tbsp of butter, cinnamon, very little sugar.