Rabbit is often dry and sometimes tough. By cooking the rabbit sous-vide, the meat will be very tender and moist. To be able to cook the rabbit with tomato sauce sous-vide, I use the trick to freeze the sauce before sealing it into a bag to prevent the sauce from being sucked out by the vacuum sealer. I chose to use fresh tomatoes rather than canned to preserve the delicate flavor of the rabbit. Canned tomatoes would be too strong. This dish is simple, delicious and healthy (high in protein but low in fat).
For 2 servings
2 rabbit legs
500 grams (1 pound) plum tomatoes
2 sprigs rosemary
1/2 glass dry white wine
1 clove garlic
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Rub the rabbit legs with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the peeled glove of garlic to the hot oil. Brown the meat for 1 or 2 minutes on both sides until golden.
Take the rabbit legs out of the pan and put on a plate to cool. Discard garlic. Deglaze the frying pan with the white wine. Stir to get all the flavor from browning the meat into the sauce.
Chop the tomatoes in a food processor.
Sieve the skin and seeds out of the tomato pulp using a food mill, and add to the frying pan. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cook the tomato sauce over medium high heat. Add any juices that leak out of the rabbit legs to the sauce.
The tomato sauce is done when it is thick and no more water runs out of it as you can see in the photo. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Spread the tomato sauce in a thin layer in a shallow wide container and put it in the freezer for about 1 hour or until it is just frozen. It freezes more quickly by using a thin layer.
Take the frozen tomato sauce out of the freezer and break it into two (or more) pieces.
Seal the rabbit legs with a layer of tomato sauce and a sprig of rosemary on each side. Cook sous-vide for 2 hours at 60C/140F.
To serve, simply take the legs out of the pouch and arrange on plates with the sauce. Discard the rosemary. A good wine pairing for this is a dry rosé (not one of those fruit bombs!) because of the tartness of the fresh tomato sauce. A red would overpower the rabbit. I didn’t have any Italian rosé in stock (which might have been better), but this Sancerre rosé made of pinot noir did the trick. We had this as a secondo after a primo with plenty of vegetables, but of course you could also serve this with vegetables. Or add onions and bell peppers to the tomato sauce for a traditional Italian dish.
P.S. If you do not own a sous-vide water bath and you would like to eat a juicy tender rabbit leg, try doing a confit! Traditionally this is done in goose fat, but sunflower oil or any other kind of vegetable oil without a strong taste is healthier and will do the trick as well. (Afterwards, you can re-use the oil for deep frying.) After searing the leg, put it into an oven-proof container that is as small as possible (otherwise you would need more oil) and cover it completely with oil. Put it in the oven for several hours and make sure the oil never gets above 65C/149F. Add some rosemary or thyme sprigs for additional flavor. Check with a fork when the meat is tender.
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