Prep 30 mins
Cook 30 mins
An appetizing first course from the flavor center of the universe, Louisiana. Courtesy of Chef Patti Constantine of Constantin's, featured in The Louisiana New Garde television series. Fresh rabbit is best, but frozen will work just fine. Substitute chicken breasts if your hunter has been unsuccessful or you cannot find rabbit at the store. Cooking time is approximate.
- 1 (1 lb) package phyllo dough
- 3⁄4 cup dried breadcrumbs
- 1 lb butter, melted
Roast Rabbit and Optional Stock
- 1 whole rabbit
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 cup dry vermouth
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 12 cups water (optional)
- 2 bunches fresh spinach, stemmed
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 3 shallots, peeled and minced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 1⁄4 lbs havarti cheese, shredded (about 5 cups)
- salt, pepper and ground cayenne, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc are all very good)
- 2 cups stock (from cooking the rabbit bones and bits)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 1 lemon, juice of
- 1 red bell pepper, roasted and pureed
- salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste
- To roast the rabbit: Place the rabbit in a large roasting pan with all ingredients except water and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake at 375F until tender (about 30 minutes).
- Let cool; pick the meat off the bones and chop.
- To make the optional stock: Place bones and any scraps from the rabbit into a small pot, cover with water and boil to reduce by half.
- Strain and set to the side.
- To make the filling: Blanch the spinach in boiling water and cover for about three minutes.
- Let cool; drain and squeeze allthe moisture out of the spinach.
- Chop and set to the side.
- Saute the garlic and shallots until tender; add thyme, spinach and cheese.
- Add seasoning.
- Place a sheet of phyllo on work surface; brush with butter and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs.
- Repeat to make 3 to 5 layers.
- Cut into 3 lengthwise strips.
- Place the filling in a line down the center of each strip.
- Place the chopped meat down the center of the filling.
- Fold the sides over, then roll up jelly-roll fashion.
- Cover and chill 30 minutes.
- While the pastries are chilling, preheat oven to 375°F.
- Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- To make the sauce: Heat oil in a large skillet; sweat the vegetables until tender.
- Add wine and cook until reduced by half, about ten minutes.
- Add stock or broth, hers and lemon juice.
- Simmer until almost completely reduced; add red pepper puree and adjust seasonings.
- To serve: Pool a little sauce on each plate.
- Cut each strudel diagonally into four slices and serve two slices to a plate.