rabbit stew
Rabbit with smoked bacon, tarragon, cider and cream

Wild rabbit is delicious, sustainable, economical and easy to cook, and in my view, at its best in autumn. Most good butchers will sell rabbit; they should happily joint it for you as well. It’s far more interesting than chicken and just as versatile. 

Serves 
3 - 4
Ingredients 

1 wild rabbit jointed

200g of smoked streaky bacon lardons

50g of plain flour

1 large or 2 smaller onions, thinly sliced 

3 cloves of garlic thinly sliced or grated

500ml of medium cider

350ml of double cream

4 - 6 sprigs of fresh tarragon

2 torn fresh bay leaves

1 Handful of parsley leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

 

 

Method 

Heat a large heavy-based casserole dish over a medium heat, add a dash of oil followed by the bacon pieces. Cook them gently on all sides until they are lovely and golden. Lift the bacon out onto a plate. Season the flour with salt and pepper, then toss the rabbit pieces through it to coat, add them to the hot pan. Fry the rabbit in the bacon fat until it’s taken on a golden colour, Then lift it out and set aside with the bacon. Add the sliced onion, garlic and bay leaves to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally for 8 – 10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Return the bacon and rabbit to the pan. Pour in the cider and bring to a simmer. Set a lid on the pan but leave it just ajar to allow some steam to escape, turn the heat right down and cook for 11/2 hours or until the rabbit is beginning to feel tender. Remove the lid and stir in the cream, bring back to a simmer and cook for a further 30 - 45 minutes or until the cream has thickened and reduced by at least half. When your happy with the consistency of the sauce and the rabbit is fork tender remove the pan from the heat season to taste with plenty of salt and pepper. Allow the dish to rest for 10 - 15 minutes. Pick the tarragon and parsley leaves from their stalks and roughly chop them before stirring into the rabbit. Serve with sauté potatoes, good bread and a green salad.