Rabbit Legs with Peas, Collards and Country Ham

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  • 1

    cup Sea Island red peas, from Anson Mills, or substitute pigeon peas

  • 8

    rabbit legs, roughly 2 ½ to 3 pounds

  • Kosher salt

  • 3

    tablespoons vegetable oil

  • ½

    cup dry white wine

  • 2

    carrots, cut into ½-inch dice, approximately 1 cup

  • 2

    large white onions, cut into ½-inch dice, approximately 2 cups

  • 2

    ribs celery, cut into ½-inch dice, approximately 1 cup

  • 1

    bay leaf

  • 2

    cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine

  • 2

    bunches fresh collard greens, stemmed, rolled and cut into ½-inch ribbons

  • 1

    medium Spanish onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

  • ¼

    pound country ham, diced, or substitute slab bacon, diced and cooked crisp

  • 1 ½

    tablespoons grainy mustard

  • 1

    tablespoon lemon juice

  • 4

    pats unsalted butter

  • 2

    tablespoons finely chopped parsley


    1. Place peas in a nonreactive bowl and allow to soak overnight in refrigerator.
    2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
    3. Season rabbit legs with salt. Place large braising pan or casserole over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the rabbit and brown it on all sides, approximately 10 minutes.
    4. Transfer rabbit to a warm platter. Deglaze pan with wine, reduce to syrup, then add carrots, white onions, celery and bay leaf to pan. Sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Return rabbit to the pan on top of the vegetables, and add water almost to cover legs. Cover pan and braise in oven for 1½ to 2 hours. Meanwhile, prepare peas and collards.
    5. Fill a heavy-bottomed 3-quart stock pot with water and simmer over medium-high heat. Drain peas and add to pot. Return liquid to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, partly cover pot and simmer gently until peas are tender, stirring occasionally, about one hour. Place aside.
    6. In a wide sauté pan set over medium heat, sweat garlic and collards with a splash of water until greens are soft. Remove from pan and reserve.
    7. Remove braising pan from oven. Legs should be soft, almost falling off the bone. Transfer to a warm platter and keep covered. Strain braising liquid and reserve in a smaller pot.
    8. Put another pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining oil. When it shimmers, add sliced Spanish onions and cook until soft. Add 1 cup or more of braising liquid, then rabbit legs, and heat through.
    9. Wipe the collards pan clean and set over medium-high heat. Add peas, collards and diced ham. Add a splash of braising liquid and cook until it evaporates. Transfer collards and peas to a warmed serving pan.
    10. Remove legs from pan and place on top of collards. Add mustard and lemon juice to remaining sauce. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Whisk butter into pan. Pour pan sauce over rabbit legs and garnish with chopped parsley.
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