Rabbit Stew

rabbit

My next-door neighbour rang the other day, to enquire as to whether I might like a rabbit. A recently shot rabbit. I headed next door somewhat dubiously, worried about what blood-splattered scene might await me. But I was presented, very casually, with a freezer bag containing said rabbit. Minus fur, skin, head and guts, but with the heart, lungs and ribcage still left in ‘for making stock’. And still very much looking like a rabbit.

stew

Having seen the slightly horrified look on my face, my neighbour suggested that he might show me how to joint the poor little thing. I retained minimal amount of the information, as I was still getting over the shock of there now being two dead rabbits in the kitchen. So I took the one that had been jointed for me to cook right away, and stowing the other (whole) rabbit hurriedly in the freezer, to worry about some other time.

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Rabbit doesn’t have much meat on it, so if you add the saddle too, there is more to pick at. I just chucked the lot in, along with some bacon to bulk it out. Rabbit tastes a little like chicken crossed with lamb- it’s got a rich, meaty flavour that goes well with cider. Some recipes suggest red wine, which you can use instead if you want a more hearty affair. But use some booze please, it’s getting close to winter after all.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 rabbit, jointed

4 rashers of bacon, cut into strips

100g carrots, peeled and chopped

1 onion, thinly sliced

200g turnip, peeled and chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

50g celeriac, peeled and finely chopped

100g dried prunes

2 tbsp brandy

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 apple, grated

250ml cider

1 pint chicken stock

1 tbsp flour

Preheat the oven to 150C.

Put the prunes in a bowl, sprinkle over the brown sugar and pour over the brandy, leaving to soak while you prepare the rest. Put one tablespoon of plain flour on a plate and season. Coat the rabbit in the flour, then get a frying pan hot and fry the meat until starting to colour on both sides. Put in a casserole dish, and add the prunes and brandy. Cook onions and bacon in the same pan, pouring in a bit of stock to help incorporate the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the veg and the grated apple, and fry for a couple of minutes. Put the lot into the casserole dish along with the rabbit, and pour over the cider and stock. Put a lid on and cook on the bottom shelf of the oven for 2 ½ hours. By this time, the rabbit should be tender and the juices reduced slightly. Serve with rice, bread or something else to mop up the juice.

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