Last Sunday I was very excited when my parents came for lunch bringing with them a lovely wild rabbit, freshly prepared by Henry the butcher at Wyatts farm in Oxfordshire.
I have to say there is something slightly alarming about the sight of a skinned whole rabbit but don't let that put you off. Prepared well (rabbits must be gutted and skinned as soon as possible or the meat will have a bitter, slightly off taste) they are really delicious and as soon as you quarter them the cuts look like any other piece of meat. You can ask the butcher to do this for you too if you are a little squeamish...
With this lovely creature I made a delicious stew (thank you Anthea for the recipe) and Potted Rabbit; using an ingenious recipe created by my dad Billo from the leftover stew.
So here they are:
Delicious Rabbit Stew (alla Mamma)
First chop your rabbit into 5 pieces and place in a mixing bowl ready for marinading.
This is a classic marinade and works very well with beef too:
5 juniper berries crushed under the knife to release the flavours,
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of thyme
Mix all the ingredients together and allow them to sit and for at least 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Heat a little oil in a hot frying pan. Brown the meat well on all sides and transfer to a large casserole dish. Prepare some whole shallots and some celery sticks. Brown in the same pan as the meat for a minute or two before adding them to the meat. Pour some water into the meat pan and scrape up any juices or burnt bits that have stuck to the pan and pour the liquid over the meat.
Also pour over another 2 large glasses of red wine and 1 small cup of fresh black coffee (I don't know quite why but coffee is a genius addition to make a rich and meaty stew). Make sure the meat is mostly covered by the sauce, if not add a little more wine.
Cook in a moderate oven for about 1 1/2 hours stirring occasionally and seasoning to taste about half way through.
I like to serve it with freshly made Bubble & Squeak and some watercress.
Potted Rabbit (Allo Billo)