- Two 4-pound rabbits (see Note)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 summer savory sprigs
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 whole garlic cloves
- 3 large shallots, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 large tomatoes—peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Cut each rabbit into 6 pieces: 2 hind legs, 2 front legs, 1 neck and 1 loin with flaps attached. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper. Press 2 savory sprigs and 2 thyme sprigs on the underside of each loin and fold the flaps over them; secure with toothpicks. Spread the mustard all over the pieces of rabbit.
- In a very large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add 4 of the rabbit pieces and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the pieces and cook over moderate heat until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat in 2 batches with the rest of the rabbit pieces, adding the remaining 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil to the casserole for the last batch.
- Add the garlic, shallots and onion to the casserole and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add half of the wine and boil over moderately high heat, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the casserole, until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Repeat with the remaining wine. Add the tomatoes, stock and the remaining 2 savory sprigs. Nestle the rabbit pieces in the casserole and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, turning the rabbit pieces a few times, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.
- Transfer the rabbit pieces to a bowl. Boil the cooking liquid over high heat until reduced to 5 cups, about 15 minutes. Discard the savory sprigs. Add the heavy cream and boil until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Return the rabbit to the casserole and simmer for a few minutes to heat through, then serve.
The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently, adding a little water if thick.
Rabbits are available at farmers' markets and from D'Artagnan (800-327-8246 or dartagnan.com).
Buttered noodles or steamed rice or potatoes.