This is a true Southern dressing. Chef Cory Bahr of Restaurant Cotton in Monroe, La., loves the rich, deep flavors of this dish. It's a bit involved (and requires a rabbit). But worth the effort.
- 1 whole rabbit, braised and meat removed
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup poblano chile, seeds removed, chopped
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, torn
- 1 9-by-13-inch pan of cornbread, baked and cubed
- 8 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- For the Rabbit
- 1 whole rabbit, skinned and gutted, head removed
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 6 celery stalks, halved
- 2 carrots, halved
- 2 bay leaves
The best approach to this recipe is to start 2 days ahead by cutting up the cornbread and letting it get a bit stale. A day ahead, braise the rabbit: Place the rabbit, onion, celery stalks, carrots and bay leaves in a stock pot and cover with water. Bring the pot to a simmer and continue cooking, covered, about 45 minutes or until the rabbit is tender. Remove rabbit from the pot and let cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the rabbit and refrigerate. Strain the stock and refrigerate.
To make the stuffing, preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt about 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper and poblano pepper and cook until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining butter, and turn to medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sage and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. When the mushrooms are done, remove the skillet from the heat. Add the cornbread, egg yolks, cheese and red pepper flakes and mix thoroughly.
Fold the pulled rabbit into the mixture. Transfer mixture to a Dutch oven or large casserole dish.
Take about 1 cup of the stock, set aside from the rabbit, and pour over the mixture, just to moisten. Bake, uncovered, for approximately 30-40 minutes or until set with a golden crust. Remove and let stand for 15 minutes. Serve.