Finally turned my hand to cooking a whole rabbit last night- and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people fail to ask their butcher for advice when they pick up a new cut of meat. These guys deal with meat for their living- you gotta think that maybe, just maybe this will translate into knowing a hellava lot about the stuff.
When I bought my little rabbit from the South Melbourne Markets I just had to ask for some tips- and here's what I got. Rabbits have very little fat on them (why are we not eating more of them I ask myself), so your best bet is to add a little. Wrap them in bacon for instance and then stew with vegies and stock. So that's just what I did.
After consulting my Cook's Companion for further tips (thanks Stephanie), I came up with the following- easy, cheap and just a little bit different for a cold winters night. This has to be one of the easiest hearty meals I've put together for a while- so easy in fact that I'll put it on standby for unexpected dinner guests next. You just need to know where to get the rabbit, and to my surprise, the local IGA stocks it. Jane 1/Rabbits 0!
- 1 whole rabbit, jointed into 8 pieces (legs, ribs, hind quarters etc)
- Bacon rashers (cheap fatty cuts are best for this)
- 5 potatoes
- 4 tomaotos
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic- smashed
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 carrot
- 1 leek, white part only
- 4 large field mushrooms (reserve some for garnish)
- Juice of half a lemon and some rind for garnish
- 1 cup of red wine
- 1L stock (chicken, vegie or anything you like)
- olive oil
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- salt/pepper to season
It's a no brainer this one- heat the olive oil in a large fry-pan, dice one rasher of bacon and brown it. Then put it to one side. Sear the rabbit pieces in the hot pan until they are a little browned. Remove fro
m the pan and wrap in the remaining bacon rashers.
Chop all your vegies to a nice hearty consistency. In a large casserole dish make a bed of the chopped vegetables, then place the rabbit/bacon pieces on top. Pour in the stock, red wine, tinned toms and any seasoning you wish to add.
Cover and cook in a 200degC oven for a little over an hour, or until the rabbit is done and the broth is a thick soup.
Serve in large bowls with plenty of the broth. Garnish with mushroom, parsley and lemon rind. Add a splash of lemon juice to each dish just before serving. Crusty sourdough bread is a must to soak up the juices.
Note: I am aware that the top picture has some chestnuts in it- but we decided against using them at the last minute, so please ignore this. But they do look pretty with the other ingredients.