Since Alex and I went to Malta a few years ago, I’ve been dying to get my hands on a nice bit of rabbit to cook up in a stew. Whist on holiday I had an incredible rabbit dish that positively blew me away. I have since found it near impossible to find the fluffy little blighters in a store close to where I live.
The other day Alex came back from Sainsburys and told me that they have upped their meat game (sorry) and now have more of a selection of meats including rabbit, quail and venison. However, on that very same day I was made aware that one of our local delicatessen Good Taste Food and Drink, had also started taking orders for rabbit. I decided to support my local store, rather than a chain – Quickly placed my order with Good Taste and voila! I have my rabbit for stewing, albeit still packed with its innards (gross).
Rabbit meat is an extremely lean, low fat, white meat; ideal for those watching their cholesterol intake. This is an extremely attractive fact for me, as they also sell a mighty impressive selection of cheese in the same shop and it’s good to strike a balance!
I turned to Nigel Slater for this rabbit stew recipe. He’s one of those chefs that I love to hate. There’s something about him that truly annoys me, but I feel compelled to keep watching him when he’s on TV. Thankfully the man did good – This stew is downright delicious!
The recipe states that you can use chicken as a substitute for rabbit. I actually think the chicken would work extremely well with the flavours and it might well be more suited. As it serves four, we decided to take out the rabbit that we didn’t eat and will try the sauce with chicken for dinner tomorrow. Unfortunately we have no remaining rabbit anyway, as our fat cat decided he was in for a tasty treat and nabbed it from the kitchen surface… At least it was enjoyed by all.
A casserole Of Rabbit (or chicken) And Apple
A sweet, apple-rich stew for a cool autumn evening. A piece of rabbit or chicken on the bone and a decent butcher’s sausage should be enough for each person, leaving you with four pieces of meat to make a soup-stew for tomorrow. To make soup of the leftovers pull the meat off the bones then return it to the remains of the stew and slowly reheat. Make thick toast croutes to put in the bottom of your soup bowls, then ladle the thick beany soup over them. A drizzle of olive oil is a sound finishing touch. If you need more liquid then add a little stock or water as you reheat. Serves 4.
250g dried flageolet or haricot beans
3 tbsp olive oil
8 large rabbit or chicken pieces on the bone
4 decent sausages, cut into four
2 medium onions
400g dessert apples
3 sprigs rosemary
2 tbsp flour
a bay leaf or two
500ml cider, stock or, at a push, water
3 tbsp double cream (optional)
1 tbsp cider vinegar (or more to taste)
Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Drain and bring to the boil in fresh, unsalted water. Let them simmer for approximately 40 minutes, checking their progress now and again. How quickly they are ready will depend on the age of your beans. Drain and set aside.
Set the oven at 190C/gas mark 5. Warm 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a shallow pan, add the rabbit or chicken pieces and the sausages and let them colour nicely on all sides. While the rabbit or chicken is cooking, peel and roughly chop the onions, core and chop the apples, and remove the rosemary needles from their stems and chop them.
Remove the meat to a plate and add the onions to the pan, letting them soften, then introducing the apple, allowing it to colour on all sides, adding more oil if necessary. Stir in the chopped rosemary, flour, bay leaf, salt and pepper, then the cider or stock. Let the liquid bubble for a couple of minutes, stirring to dissolve any crusty bits from the pan. Stir in the drained, cooked beans.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, covered with a lid. Check the meat is tender, then stir in the cream if you are using it and the cider vinegar. The sauce should be quite sweet, but if it’s too much so, reduce it by stirring in more cider vinegar. Check the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, and cider vinegar as necessary. Serve.
If you are partial to a bit of rabbit, then check out some more recipes here: