Monday, 3 November 2014

Italian Rabbit Stew

We've been meaning to have rabbit for a while now but weren't too sure what the kids, and 6 year old Big Boy in particular who once tried to release a baby crab from a paella back into the sea, would make of the idea.

By coincidence, I had only just listened to a BBC Radio 4 Food Programme In a Stew about Rabbits when Dad emerged from the butcher's on Saturday with my two beaming younger children and two jointed rabbits.

So I put together the first recipe on the web page, Barny Haughton's Italian Wild Rabbit Stew.

For 4 people

1 wild rabbit, dressed & jointe
4 rashers streaky bacon or pancetta, cut into 1cm lengths
2 carrots
2 sticks celery
2 medium sized onions
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
½ bottle dry white wine
a small bunch of thyme
2 bay leaves
I small bunch flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Black pepper, salt, olive oil
Seasoned flour (3 tablespoons flour, 1 tsp each salt and pepper)

Thankfully our rabbit was already jointed, but I did have to remove the heart, lungs, kidneys, and several pellets of poo from one of them!

Dust the rabbit pieces with seasoned flour (It took a lot more flour to flour the rabbit pieces than it said in the recipe, but I did end up with a lovely rich sauce) and brown a few pieces at a time with olive oil.  Again it took a lot more olive oil that the recipe said, but given that there is no fat on a rabbit it didn't seem to much of an issue to add more to the pan.

Dice the carrots, celery and onion and fry in the oil after you have browned all the rabbit and placed in on a plate, or the lid of the casserole.  When the onion starts to brown, add the garlic and bacon and fry for a few minutes.  Return the rabbit pieces to the casserole dish, plus the wine, herbs (not parsley) and top up with water to just cover.  I did not season as the flour was already seasoned and decided to leave season to just before serving. Bring to a simmer, put on the lid and place in the oven at 150C for one hour.
Having just suggested this with my recent Chilli con Carne recipe I was interested to read "As with all casseroles and stews, if you can leave it to cool and then refridgerate overnight, the flavours and texture will improve".  I left it to cool on the back doorstep for a couple of hours with the lid on.
To serve, reheat gently on the hob.  Add chopped parsley if using (I didn't have any) and season to taste.

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