Rabbit is gaining in popularity as a sustainable, lean and tender meat. Do take the trouble to source a free range rabbit from a butcher or farmer’s market; rabbit sold in supermarkets is often imported and invariably reared for the table in cages.
Emily Roux's Rabbit Stew with Offal Bruschetta
This simple one-pot stew is the kind my grandmother used to make. Adding wine to the ingredients and cooking them all together creates a delicious, homely dish full of rich, powerful flavours. To ensure none of your rabbit goes to waste, don’t overlook the offal. I like to serve it on bruschetta to eat on the side.
To Note: The offal, conversely, requires very little cooking. Overcooked it becomes chewy and develops an overpowering and, for many people, off-putting flavour. Cooked swiftly, seasoned correctly and eaten promptly the oft-neglected rabbit innards are a real treat.
For the Rabbit stew: Slice the bacon into thick lardons, quarter the mushrooms and halve the new potatoes.
To joint the rabbit, take the carcass and lay it on its back. Start by removing the hind legs following the hip joint. Next, make an incision between the rib cage and the saddle and dislocate one from the other with your hands. Finally, remove the front legs, slicing through the collar bone. You should be left with six joints of rabbit.
Heat the olive oil in a roomy saucepan or casserole and sear the pieces of meat, turning frequently, for 12 to 14 minutes until crisp and golden brown then, remove from the pan, and set to one side. Using the same pan, sauté the lardons until lightly coloured.
Using the fat released by the lardons, cook the mushrooms and onions until tender. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir for a few minutes then, deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up any brown, crispy bits stuck to the bottom. When nearly all the liquid has evaporated pour in the stock. Return the meat to the pan, making sure it is covered by the liquid. Add the garlic clove, thyme, black olives and seasoning.
Leave the stew to simmer for approximately 40 minutes (or until the rabbit is completely tender). Don't forget to add the new potatoes to the pan for the last 10-12 minutes of cooking time. As they cook, the potatoes will thicken the sauce and soak up all the delicious flavours.
Serve the stew in a bowl with a little of each ingredient and the warm bruschetta on the side.
To prepare the bruschetta: Toast the bread and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Dice the heart, kidneys and liver. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add all the offal to the pan and season generously with salt and pepper. After a couple of minutes, when the offal begins to change colour, add the chopped shallots. Stir until the shallots are tender then deglaze the pan with cognac and gently stir in the mustard.
Spoon this delectable mixture over the toasted sourdough, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.