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We cooked this fantastic recipe for Easter, avoiding the temptation of Spring lamb which is ridiculously expensive at present. Plus we think lamb is tastier later in the season when they are a bit older. This is the sort of recipe that Jono would choose, but I decide it looks too fiddly and we opt for something else. Something this weekend made me relent and give this a go … probably the prospect of a long weekend and nothing much to do!

Make friends with your butcher and ask them to debone the rabbit for you. The stuffing and rolling seems a bit tricky when you’re doing it and ours looked far from pretty but if you tie it tightly with string, wrap in some cling film and leave in the fridge for an hour, it will all stay together nicely and looks great when you cut it out. Be brave.

Wine Suggestion: Good with a Chianti Classico from a better producer and, if possible, a little age for some of the tertiary bottle development characters to emerge. For us we had a bottle of the Tenuta Sant’Alfonso, a single vineyard wine made by Rocca delle Macie from our cellar.

Stuffed rabbit – serves 4 to 6

  • 1kg deboned rabbit (about 1.2kg unboned)
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit extra
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 30g currants or sultanas
  • 200ml white wine
  • about 100g soft breadcrumbs
  • 10-12 slices streaky bacon or pancetta

Spread the deboned rabbit out over a work surface. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook until soft, then add the tomatoes and fry for 2 minutes. Add the tomato purée, pine nuts and currants and cook for another minute. Add 100ml white wine and bubble until most of it has disappeared. Start adding the breadcrumbs, a handful at a time, until you have a stuffing that is neither too wet or too dry. It should clump in your hands and stay together but not feel too sticky. Season.

Make a pile of the stuffing, shaping with your hands, about 7cm from the less fat end of the rabbit. You need to leave a generous margin near the edges so the stuffing doesn’t squeeze out. Roll the rabbit into a fat log shape, tucking in the sides as you go. Wrap the joint in the bacon or pancetta and tie firmly widthways and lengthways with kitchen string. You can set it aside in the fridge for a while now if you need, we found this useful to firm it up a bit.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C/Gas 6.

Heat some more oil in a frying pan, then brown the rabbit on all sides. Transfer to a deepish roasting tin, not too much bigger than the rabbit. Add rest of the wine to the frying pan, scraping the meaty bits on the pan with a wooden spoon, then pour this over the rabbit. Roast for 45 minutes until nice and golden on the outside. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving in thick slices.

(Original recipe from Two Kitchens: Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome by Rachel Roddy, Headline Home, 2017.)

 

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Rabbit with onions and rosemary

A rustic French dish with meltingly tender rabbit. Serve with the lamb’s lettuce salad (included in the recipe) and some roasted baby potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: This goes great with with a nice Cabernet Franc from the Loire, like a Saumur or Chinon if the weather is bright and warming up for Spring. Alternately we love the richer, more velvety wines of La Clape in the Languedoc if it’s a cooler Winter day.

Rabbit with onions & rosemary – serves 6

  • 2kg rabbit portions
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large onions, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 600ml white wine
  • 425ml chicken stock
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • 6 rashers streaky bacon, thinly sliced
  • chopped parsley to serve

FOR THE LAMB’S LETTUCE SALAD:

  • 140g lamb’s lettuce
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Season the rabbit joints on both sides and sprinkle lightly with flour.

Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a large heavy pan, then quickly fry the rabbit in batches over a high heat to brown all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the onions over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until browned. Return the rabbit to the pan with the bay, rosemary, wine and stock. Cover and cook for 50-60 minutes or until the rabbit is soft.

Add the mushrooms and cook for another 10 minutes, then taste and season.

Meanwhile, grill the bacon until crispy, then break into chunks. Sprinkle the rabbit with the bacon and parsley before serving.

To make the salad: 

Tip the lettuce leaves into a large bowl. Mix the shallot, vinegar & mustard, then set aside for 10 minutes. Add some salt and pepper, then gradually whisk in the oil until the dressing has thickened. Toss with the lettuce just before serving.

(Original recipe by Mary Cadogan IN: BBC Good Food Magazine, March 2008.)

Rabbit w onions & rosemary

 

 

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