I have the sniffles this week. Nothing serious but if I leave it unchecked it could develop into a Dreaded ‘Flu that seems to be inflicting everyone at the moment.
In the absence of my mum’s restorative chicken soup, I went in search of something equally comforting…………. R A B B I T.
I know it’s not everyone’s idea of comfort food but that’s just because many people have a phobia about this delicious meat – my favourite white meat actually.
The key to enjoying the subtle succulent juiciness of rabbit is slow cooking. Either poach your rabbit pieces in a broth and then remove the bones to use in a pie or do what I did and go to your nearest farmers market buy a farmed rabbit, smoked pancetta, some fresh herbs, bay leaves, carrots, onions and potatoes and let your oven do the rest. This stew was so delicious – lovely fall-apart meat with a deep flavoursome sauce and sweet vegetables.
Recipe: Rabbit Stew
(adapted from a recipe by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)
1 farmed rabbit,1.2 kg (or wild if you can get hold of one) jointed
2 tablespoons plain flour, for dusting
250g smoked pancetta, cut into lardons
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, diced
4 celery sticks, diced
4 potatoes, halved
2 fresh bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme ( more if you like its woodiness)
500 ml chicken stock ( homemade if you have a stash)
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Set the oven to 120 degrees celsius.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a casserole pot and gently fry the pancetta until it crisps and releases a little of its porky fatty juices. Transfer the pancetta to a warm plate.
Now lightly dust the rabbit pieces in flour and brown them being careful not to crowd the pot. Place the rabbit pieces with the pancetta.If you have any burnt bits of flour in your pot wipe clean with some paper towel.
Heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in the pot and sweat your onions, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaves until they are translucent without any colour, about ten minutes.
Now add your red wine vinegar and honey and reduce by half.
Throw in your chicken stock, return your rabbit pieces and pancetta and check for seasoning. Throw in your potatoes, add enough water to just cover the rabbit and bring to the boil.
Take off the heat and cook gently in the oven for 1 and 1/2 hours or until rabbit is very soft. (I removed all the saddle and breast pieces and left the legs in for another 40 minutes until they were very tender. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your critter)
Serve the stew hot with some rice, polenta or just on its own.
I can’t believe its not chicken
This dish will convert any rabbit phobe