wild garlic
Rabbit and wild garlic

I seem to be finding wild garlic earlier with each coming year. This wonderful plant, also known as ‘Ramsons’ can be found in the dappled shade of established woodlands, in damp meadows, along stream banks and in shady hedges. When it’s young it’s sweet and its emerald green leaves are unmistakable. I’m using it here in a simple stew of wild rabbit, seems fitting to serve the two together but I can’t imagine rabbits actually eat garlic in the wild. It might be too strong for them. I imagine this is probably why wild plants do so well and everything in my garden -  not so much ! 

Serves 
2 - 4
Ingredients 

 

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

Method 

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.