After sifting through a plethora of amazing recipes for the Cooking with Sun King Winter Recipe Contest, we narrowed it down to our Top 5 Finalists! We invited each of the Top 5 contestants and a guest to come to Sun King for a night of cooking, beer, and good company. The lineup was a little bit of everything from Circle City Wee Mac Chili with Cream Ale Cheddar Muffins, WeeMac N’ Cheesecake, Midwest is Best with a Touch of West Sunlight Cream Ale beer crusted pizza, Winterfest Braised Rabbit, and Wee Muckle Drizzled Steak with Osiris Brussel Sprouts. For two nights we stuffed our faces with wonderful and creative dishes. Ultimately we knew that we had to pick one winner and that it was not going to be an easy task.
We would like to congratulate Janet Stimac (1st Place) for her Winterfest Braised Rabbit. Janet chose to make this dish because she loves cooking locally and seasonally. She matched locally-brewed Sun King Winterfest with some locally sourced ingredients. Janet purchased the rabbit, chard, and the cornmeal for the polenta from local farmers at Sun King Community Partner, the Indy Winter Farmers Market. Janet’s recipe is listed below.
We would also like to congratulate Mary Martinez (2nd Place) for her Midwest is Best with a Touch of the West Beer Crust Pizza and Holly Martin (3rd Place) for her WeeMac N’ Cheesecake. Big thanks and thumbs up to Jake Koeneman (Wee Muckle Drizzled Steak with Osiris Brussel Sprouts) and Melissa Stultz (Circle City Chili with Cream Ale Cheddar Muffins).
The Sun King Crew would like to thank everyone that participated and would also like to thank Janet, Jake, Melissa, Mary, and Holly (and their guests) for spending their evenings with us. Stay tuned for our Spring/Summer Cooking with Sun King Recipe Contest.
Winterfest Braised Rabbit
½ cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 (3 pound) rabbit meat, cleaned and cut into pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced onions
½ pound mixed wild mushrooms
1 pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 cups Sun king Winterfest beer
1 quart chicken stock (preferably homemade)
3 Tablespoons whole wheat all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons softened butter
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Place ½ cup flour, salt, and pepper into a plastic bag; toss to mix. Add the rabbit pieces, toss to coat with the flour mixture, and shake off excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until lightly smoking.
Sear the rabbit pieces on each side until golden brown, then set aside. Pour in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and stir in the sliced onions. Cook until the onions have softened, about 2 minutes; then stir in the mushrooms and garlic, cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the thyme, basil, rosemary, and bay leaves; season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place the browned rabbit pieces into the Dutch oven, and pour in the beer and chicken stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then place in a 300 degree oven, covered, and simmer until rabbit is very tender, about 2 hours.
Mash 3 tablespoons of flour into the softened butter until smooth. Remove the rabbit from the simmering broth and set aside. Skim any visible fat from the liquid, then whisk in the butter paste. Simmer for 3 or 4 minutes until thickened, then remove the bay leaves, season again with salt and pepper if needed, and stir in the parsley.
Serve the thickened sauce with braised rabbit over polenta with a side of Swiss chard or other greens.