Saturday, 28 March 2009

bunny boiling

i wasn't going to post a bunny recipe, on account of there not being many people who keep a rabbit in their freezer. but as this is tuning into a bit of an autistic catalogue of things devoured, r reasoned it should be included.

a word about bunnies - apart from being tasty, they are also cheap. our butcher sells them for around a tenner, which is expensive. don't pay that much. farmers' makets will have them for more like a fiver.

i think you need one rabbit between two people - you're aiming for small ones anyway as they taste better, and there's not a lot of meat on them. i suppose if you are less greedy and/or are eating something starchy with it, it will feed four. also, the meat is very lean so you do need some extra fat to keep it moist and add flavour. i used pancetta (cubed) but you can just use streaky/smoked/normal bacon. in fact, it's probably what i would do next time as the pancetta we had was too salty and just too flavourful somehow.

RABBIT STEW WITH WHITE WINE AND PANCETTA
for two, hungry

1 rabbit, jointed - jointing meat is under r's jurisdiction. i'm not squeamish about doing it but he does a better job and, i suppose worryingly, seems to rather enjoy it. maybe he thinks the years of putting balloons into rats' arteries have somehow qualified him for the task.
2 large spring onions (or just use shallots), sliced
2 bay leaves
bunch of fresh thyme
a knob of butter
olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken or beef stock, i used one of those instant liquid things
2 large field or portobello mushrooms - or any mushrooms you can find
2 shallots, quartered, or a few of those small silverskin onions
3-4 slices pancetta, smoked/streaky/any bacon or the equivalent amount of cubed pancetta
2 heaped tsp of wholegrain or dijon mustard
seasoning - though i didn't salt mine at all as the pancetta was so salty. taste it before you add any.

melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan (with a lid) with a bit of olive oil and brown the rabbit joints quickly for a couple of minutes on each side. take out of the pan and set aside. put the spring onions or shallots in the leftover fat, and fry for a few minutes on gentler heat until translucent. then add the wine and the stock, scraping all the nice bits off the bottom of the pan. put the bay and thyme leaves in and return the rabbit pieces in the pan. bring to the boil, put the lid on and reduce heat so it's simmering nicely. leave it on for 25 or 30 minutes. check occasionally and maybe turn the pieces over.

in a separate pan, slowly fry the pancetta. it will release quite a lot of fat so drain it off it looks too greasy. you want it to become crispy. when done, drain in on some kitchen paper. wipe the pan and fry the quartered shallots or baby onions until soft and caramelised. add the mushrooms, a grind of pepper and cook till the mushrooms are dry (they'll release loads of water at first so let it evaporate).

when the bunny is done, whisk in the mustard. see how thick the sauce is - if too watery, boil it down rapidly for a bit so it thickens. if it looks okay, chuck in the pancetta, mushrooms and onions in and put in a handful of chopped parsley.

be prepared to eat with your hands - rabbits are quite bony so a knife and fork will get you nowhere. which always makes me think that a common or garden squirrel would probably look and taste similar....

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