I was shopping at my local supermarket the other day and what was on special?
Now I know a lot of people are wary of cooking with rabbit, but I will let you in on a few secrets.......
Rabbit is higher in protein than many other meats. It is also lower in fat, and has less calories. With the following recipe I would normally use chicken, but I thought why not give it a go with rabbit.
A few rabbit facts
Wild rabbit and farmed rabbit are two very different things.....
run around a lot and the muscles get very developed, which is why the meat is so dark. Wild rabbit meat is lean (which means it is low in fat) and for me a richer and much more interesting flavour. If you cook wild rabbit for a longer time, in a rich and juicy sauce, it will not dry out. You just have to keep your eye on it. Its worth it, believe me.
in contrast, are fat and laze around their enclosure ...... eating. What a life! They have plenty of fat around their belly and loin area which will keep it nice and moist when cooking. Farmed rabbit meat is paler by comparison and has a more refined- flavour. I sometimes marinate overnight in olive oil and herbs with a splash of vinegar then grill. Farmed rabbit is certainly versatile.
I was going to show you an image of a cute fluffy bunny but I thought it might put you off.
Ok, now a quick trip to the veggie garden to see what's there......
1 chopped onion
2 finely sliced leeks (Just wanted to use them up, I have so many in the garden)
1 chopped carrot
A few stalks of chopped celery
1 tin italian plum tomatoes
Dice 2 thick pieces of Pancetta
1 wild rabbit jointed
1 cup red wine
4 or five mushrooms chopped in quarters
Parsley and rosemary chopped finely
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Some plain flour for dusting rabbit
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and butter and then add the pancetta. Use a nice heavy based pan. Cook for a few minutes and add the rosemary. Stir till nice and fragrant. Add your rabbit pieces that have been dusted in seasoned flour.
Brown and seal the rabbit for a few minutes. Mmmmm smelling pretty good now!
Add onion, carrot, celery and leeks. Stir occasionally until softened about 7 minutes.
Pour a glass of wine for yourself and take a sip. ahhhh Then add 1 cup of red wine and simmer for 10 minutes or so. The red wine will have reduced slightly.
Add tomatoes and and mushrooms and then simmer gently for about 45mins. Turn the rabbit occasionally to make sure all the flavours go through. It is smelling pretty good now!
While the rabbit is simmering away. Cook up some Polenta. I discovered this a while back for a quick and easy option.
3 minutes and it was done. Add a nice dollop of butter at the end of cooking, and season well. Polenta can be a bit bland so season away.
Stir till nice and smooth. Be careful, Polenta can be just like a lava pool with explosive bubbles.
Plate up.....sprinkle parsley on top.
There you have it......a delicious and healthy winter warmer......