Garlic in beer-braised rabbit

This is one of our favorite winter meals. If you can’t get rabbit, chicken thighs work fine.

Beer-Braised Rabbit
(serves 2-3)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (and maybe a little more)
1/3 cup flour plus ground black pepper to taste
1 small rabbit (about 2 1/2 pounds), cut into pieces
1 large onion, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons dried thyme, or 2 tablespoons fresh
6 large or 8 medium carrots, sliced
3 cups cooked white beans (canned are fine)
1 12-ounce bottle of beer (use a light-colored, mild-flavored kind)
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 cup really good chicken or meat stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a skillet or pot big enough to hold all the ingredients, heat a tablespoon of the vegetable oil over high heat. While the oil heats, put the flour and pepper in a plastic bag, add the rabbit parts, and shake until all the parts are coated.

When the oil is hot, add as many rabbit parts as will fit comfortably. Brown them on all sides, and continue in shifts until all the parts are browned. Remove them to a bowl.

If the pan is coated with brown bits, deglaze it with about 1/2 a cup of the chicken stock or water. Stir until all the brown bits come unstuck, and then add the stock or water to the bowl with the rabbit parts. If there are no brown bits, skip this and continue with the next step.

Reheat the skillet over medium heat. You’re going to saute the onions and garlic — if you need a little more vegetable oil (which you will if you deglazed), add it. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and carrots and continue cooking about 5 minutes more.

Add the remaining ingredients, and the rabbit parts and liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the rabbit is completely tender, about 45 minutes.

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