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This bunny came by us in a bone fide “you know you’re in the country when…” moment.

So, you know you’re in the country when the man that delivered the load of logs happened to have three recently shot rabbits slumped on the passenger seat.  Tom spotted them and said “hmmm, yum”, and log man kindly gave us one for the pot.  We didn’t have cash on us, so paid him for the logs by putting the money in an empty Wotsits packet and jamming it in the hinge of the gate at the end of the drive for him to pick up later. That kind of thing doesn’t happen in London.

So we cooked and ate it a-la recipe below.  But not before Tom gutted it and skinned it and I took amusing photos of it sans skin, avec fluffy tail and paws.  I’ve left those out of the picture gallery to protect the squeamish. The pictures aren’t great, I must confess but this was truly yummy.  Especially warming in the cold spring downpours we’re having at the moment.

A few words on rabbit if you haven’t tried it before.  It’s delicious and very healthy because it’s so lean.  Virtually no fat on it. I tend to compensate for this by then adding lots of fat. There’s a subtle gamey taste.  The only tricky bit is it can go dry if you overcook it.  So, the best things is to either cook it for very little time or for a really long time.  The recipe below is a slow-cooked casserole.  I added chorizo for extra flavour and fat and pork belly for extra fat and unctuous-ness. Enjoyed with hunks of home-made buttered bread to soak up the juices.

The perfect drinker’s friend.

Rabbit with Chorizo and Juniper (serves 2 with a bit left over for the toddler)

Ingredients:

  • 1 prepared rabbit (the butcher can simply provide you with the fore and hind legs and the saddle if you don’t have Log Man or a gun)
  • A can of white beans – cannellini works well
  • About 4 inches of chorizo sausage, diced into half inch pieces
  • A thick slice of pork belly (though streaky bacon or pancetta would work brilliantly with this)
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • A couple of small leeks, diced.
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Some booze to deglaze and add to the pot (I used sherry as that’s what I had to hand but a few glugs of white wine will do. If using wine, add as much as a couple of cups to the pot.
  • Chicken stock
  • A bay leaf
  • About 10 juniper berries lightly crushed.

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 140 degrees celsius
  • Fry the onion and leek in a splash of olive oil in a frying pan until soft and add to a separate oven-proof casserole dish with lid that will fit everything in.
  • Fry the chorizo in the pan til it releases chorizo juices and is lightly coloured.  Transfer to the pot.
  • Brown the rabbit pieces in the same pan as the chorizo, add to the pot.
  • Deglaze the frying pan with some booze, scraping up any sticky bits, and add to the pot along with the bay, juniper, carrot, pork belly and chicken stock (enough stock to just cover everything)
  • Bring to a vigorous simmer on the hob and then transfer to the pre-heated oven, lid on. Cook for about an hour and then add the drained and rinsed cannellini beans.  Cook for another hour.
  • |Remove the belly strip before dishing up and serve as you like – with bread or mash or greens or whatever.  And if you really can’t face rabbit or don’t know where to get it from, am sure this would work well with chicken thighs.  Just don’t use pork belly as it really would be too fatty.