1 wild rabbit, jointed into 6 pieces
250g piece of bacon cut into 2-3cm chunks, or the same weight in bacon lardons
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
6 bay leaves
a small handful of sage leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
500ml dry or medium cider
Up to 350ml water
1 large handful of wild garlic leaves.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Rabbit is one of those meats that really loves a low, slow simmer, so a gentle, consistent heat is the order of the day.
Place your pan over a medium heat. When the pot is nice and hot, add the bacon. Stir it around as it starts to render some of its well-flavoured fat. Keep frying until it’s a lovely golden brown colour. Transfer the bacon to a large bowl, leaving plenty of the fat in the pan.
Season the jointed rabbit with sea salt and black pepper and add to the pan. Brown the rabbit on all sides then remove it and set it aside with the bacon. Put the sliced onion, garlic, herbs and plenty of salt and pepper into the hot pan and cook for 5–10 minutes or until soft.
Get the rabbit and bacon back into the pan, then pour in the cider and enough water to just cover the meat. Get some heat under the pot so it comes up to a simmer then cook, with the lid set ajar, for 2-3 hours. You may need to top up the pan with a little water to ensure the rabbit and bacon stay covered. When the rabbit is so tender it falls away from the bone, stir in the wild garlic leaves and allow them to wild in the heat of the sauce. If the leaves are big ribbon them up with a knife before adding. Remove the pan from the heat and season the stew to taste. Serve with good bread and butter.