08 Nov 2018
Hop into Winter – Etherington’s guide to buying and cooking rabbit
While rabbit has long been a mainstay on menus across Europe, North Africa and Morocco (think French stews and spicy tagines) it fell out of flavour in the UK, perhaps because we began to consider rabbits as pets rather than produce. But in recent years it’s made a comeback.
Although available year-round, wild rabbits are best for eating from August – February, when they’re not breeding or feeding their young. Look for pink, plump meat, or if buying whole, choose an animal that has sharp, smooth claws, soft ears and bright eyes.
There’s not a lot of spare fat on a rabbit making it susceptible to drying out during the cooking process. It’s best braised with some well-chosen lubricants to ensure scrumptious meat, so tender it falls off the bone. Fatty bacon or pancetta is the default addition to stews, but yougurt, milk and cider work well too.
For best results heat olive oil in a heavy based pan or casserole dish and gently fry bacon or pancetta until it starts to brown and the fats are released. Remove the bacon before browning the rabbit joints in the same pan, caramelising the meat to ensure flavour. Add onions, rosemary or thyme, cider and mustard before simmering at a low heat for 90 minutes to two hours.
Pair with smooth mash potato, seasonal greens. Indulge in a delicious thrifty dish loaded with flavour and gamey undertones.
Originally Written for Cornwall Today.