February has held a pleasant surprise: temperatures in Minnesota have risen into the low 60s of late. This weather hardly seems like rabbit season, but our season is open through the end of the month. Here’s a strata recipe for those of you just skidding under the hunting season wire and looking for a warm wild rabbit meal when the mercury dips again.
1 heaping cup pulled smoked rabbit (here’s a good recipe for this)
6 cups bread cubes
12 par boiled and chilled asparagus stalks
4 eggs, beaten lightly
3 cups rabbit stock (you can use chicken stock)
1 cup diced onion
¾ cup diced celery
½ cup diced bell pepper (any color)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons butter
Salt & pepper
1 ½ cups shredded cheese for topping
Note: For the cheese, Gruyere, Asiago, Fontina, Gouda, Muenster, Havarti, or Monterey Jack works great. For my own topping, I prepared a Mornay sauce in advance and sprinkled with about ½ cup shredded cheese. Mornay is what you get if you add cheese to a basic béchamel, or white sauce.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat cast-iron pan over medium heat. Add two tablespoons of butter. Add onions, celery, and bell pepper and cook until tender. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, cooked vegetables, thyme, rosemary, and parsley, and toss together. Add three cups stock, smoked rabbit, and stir well. Crack three eggs individually, beat and add to mixture. Dice asparagus and add to bowl. Add salt and pepper. Stir gently until well mixed. Turn out into a cast-iron pan and top with Mornay sauce and/or grated cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes (the cheese should be bubbly and golden).