So far in 2012 I’ve cooked every meal at the vineyard. That’s right, every morsel of nourishment that’s filled the bellies of our family of winemakers.  Tiring of the normalcy and boredom of reputation, I decided to change it up and add to my repertoire on a recent night.

Rabbit anyone?  My wife and daughter were skeptical at best, and once they saw the plastic bag containing ‘ol Bugs, they were disgusted.  Undeterred, I tossed our friend in the spare freezer and bided my time.  On a cold Saturday night with dinner guests on the way, I pulled the rascally rabbit from his icy tomb and into the fire. Here goes.

Cooking rabbit

I sourced this delicacy from an old mountain man on the Grand Mesa. He breeds them, and I’m certain they live in peaceful coexistence and harmony right up until the end.  At this point they meet either the point of a knife or the belly of a python (Yet another critter the old man propagates. I know, creepy right?).  Unsure of what direction to pursue — French, Greek, or good old Southern Americana — I chose Julia and her arsenal for inspiration.  After perusal of THE Julia Childs all-time cookbook, I decided on the French method.

I chopped carrots, celery and garlic while drinking a nice chilled glass of the soon-to-be released Mesa Park Riesling.

After refilling my wine glass (a very important step, mind you), I sautéed the veggies in 2 tablespoons or so of butter and chopped bacon. I finished by adding a healthy dose of dried, rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano from our herb garden.  I stuffed the little guy as full as possible and off to the oven he went.  350 degrees for an hour or so.  I monitored the internal temp for readiness.

Midway through cooking I glazed him in cherry sauce, which caramelized nicely by the end.  A few swipes of the knife and he was ready for noshing!  It paired extremely well with both the 2006 Cab Franc and the 2009 Family Reserve Red.

In the end, a mighty creature of the briar patch lived and died valiantly to become a succulent feast for the bellies of MPV.


Brad Webb