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It looks like rabbit is quite a popular dish in many restaurants around Montreal, just like duck and venison. I had it in couple of places already and finally decided to make one. This meat is very lean and doesn’t need a lot of time to cook. My mom would usually use it in pate, which has always been something special in my family. When my dad used to go hunting, he would bring pheasants and hares we all knew there soon would be a pate on our table.
When cooking rabbit, you have to be very careful about timing because it’s very easy to overcook it, leaving the meat really dry. It’s nothing like pulled pork or stew when you can just leave it on the stove and forget about it for couple of hours. It’s a very hearty dish where the main star is the rabbit and sauce, not like a typical stew where you have a lot of veggies.
I strongly recommend making your own tagliatelle to serve with the ragout.

Serving: 4 (for both the ragout and pasta)
Preparation:  10 minutes
Cooking :  45 minutes to 1 hour if you decide to make your own pasta
Calories for one serving of rabbit stew – 550
Calories for one serving of home-made pasta –  1 ½ cups: 270

Ingredients for the ragout:
2lb 6oz/1kg rabbit
4 cups of stock
½ cup of brandy
2 carrots, diced into ½ inch slices
10 oz/280g wild mushrooms, defrosted (chanterelles, porcinis, morels but it could be any type you can get)
½ oz/22g dry wild mushrooms
1 shallot, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
Large sprigs of thyme and sage
1 bay leave
1 tablespoon of canola oil
Salt and pepper for taste

Ingredients for home-made tagliatelle
2 cups of all purpose flour
3 large eggs
Pinch of salt

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If you decide to make the dish with home-made tagliatelle, prepare the dough first because it needs to rest at least 20 minutes.  Put the flour on a working space, add a pinch of salt and make a little well in the middle of the flour. Add the eggs and start combining all the ingredients together. It will take you literally 2 minutes.  Knead the dough for one more minute and shape it into a ball. Divide it into two smaller balls and wrap in plastic cling film, and let them rest for at least 20 minutes. This way the dough will get more flexible to work with. When the dough is resting you can proceed with the ragout.

Begin with making a mushroom stock. Pour 2 cups of the stock into a small pot and add the dried mushrooms. Cook it for about 20 minutes on low heat.

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In the meantime heat the canola oil in the Dutch oven and add the diced shallots. Stir them and cook on low heat for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for 30 seconds. Add the minced garlic and stir it for about 30 seconds just to release the fragrance. Then put the rabbit into the Dutch oven and brown it for 3 minutes on each side. Remove the rabbit from the pot and put it aside.

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Put the carrots into the pot and stir. You might need to add additional teaspoon of canola oil if you see that the veggies get stuck to the bottom.  Cook the carrots about 2 minutes on medium heat and then add the chopped defrosted mushrooms. Mix all the ingredients well and transfer the rabbit back to the Dutch oven. Add all the juices gathered on that plate into the pot.

Mix it all and cook it for about one minute to heat up the meat. Add the brandy and cook it down until the liquid evaporates.  Be careful when pouring the brandy, so that you don’t you spill some on the sides of the pot, unless your intention is to flambé it. I have an exhaust fan above my stove so I’m avoiding that part, however I did it before in an open space kitchen and that’s a lot of fun.

After 3-4 minutes add the dried mushrooms together with the stock they were cooking in. You may want to strain the stock in case you don’t know how much sand is in those mushrooms.
Add the remaining 2 cups of stock, bay leaf, thyme and sage. Cover it with a lid and let it cook on medium heat for 25 minutes.

If you like your sauce be a little thicker, mix one tablespoon of potato flour with 2 tablespoons of cold water and mix it well until the flour dissolves. Add the mixture to the sauce.
Taste it to check if you need to add more salt and pepper and serve it with home-made noodles.

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Half-way through the cooking time of the ragout, start preparing the dough. I must admit, that kitchen aid pasta appliance definitely helps to make the noodles much faster. Take one of the dough batches and flatten it a little bit so that you can let it go through the pasta roller. You should roll it slowly, increasing the thickness control step by step until you get to the last one, number 8 making the dough thin.

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I cut it into half and then run it through the tagliatelle cutter.

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Put the noodles on a surface sprinkled with flour, separate them, and cover with a kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out.

When your ragout is ready, have a boiling water ready on your stove, salt it and add the noodles. They will be ready in two minutes. The home-made pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta you buy in your store.
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