Rabbit? I know right? Who cooks rabbit? A good friend of ours was down the country hunting and was flying to Paris on their return to Dublin and offered up the wildlife. Being excited foodies and the opportunity to get a different meat I said YES!
Little did I know it would arrive whole. Thank god it was already gutted, but the experience of skinning and jointing a fluffy cute but reasonably large animal was an experience in itself. And while I’m never quite sure about the act of hunting myself – there was something about being responsible for the animal, for your meal from start to finish that was quite satisfying.
Saute bacon in olive oil in a nice big casserole dish, until crispy. Remove the bacon and pop into a dish to be kept for later, keep all the bacon-flavoured oil and juices in the pot. Pop the rabbit joints in and turn them as each side crisps. Remove the rabbit joints too. Now cook carrots, shallots, garlic and a tablespoon or two of honey until they are all caramelised. Season veg with salt and pepper and add a couple sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf.
Pop the bacon and rabbit joints in with the veg, stir around and add a pint of cider to the dish. Pop it into the oven for two hours at 120 degrees celcius, with a lid on, checking occasionally so it doesn’t go dry.
Because I was feeding 5 people, one rabbit doesn’t go too far. So I threw a load of sausages in the oven, cooked on all sides and popped them into the stew as well. Boys get grumpy in our house when there isn’t enough meat to go around.
Serve it with mash. Nom nom nom.