Rabbits in pots bring to mind the crazy bunny boiler from The Fatal Attraction. So, who or what has forced me to cook a rabbit? I blame it all on handsome chef Dom and his Random Recipes.
For Random Recipes challenge in May you are supposed to dig out a cook book that you haven't opened in ages. Well, I have quite a few of them, Sophie Griegson's Travels a la carte which I bought about 18 years ago and never used, very pretentious Skinny Meals in Heels which I won and Two Fat Ladies Full Throttle published in 1998 to name but a few. I showed these three books to my younger son and asked him to choose. He went for Two Fat Ladies because they were on a motor bike. OK, good choice. Now for the recipe! Please, please, let it be something palatable, if I remember it correctly, it has a famous Penis stew (horse's, I hasten to add, and it sounds revolting).
So, when the Rabbit stew with chocolate appeared under my thumb, I was almost grateful it wasn't worse than that. For this recipe I got a wild rabbit meat from Abel and Cole. The last time I tried the rabbit was about 17 years ago, when my then new husband and I were invited for dinner. The hostess was French, and cooked the rabbit. When she proudly brought it in, I looked at it and shuddered: it looked like a skinned cat. Abel and Cole's wild rabbit arrived already chopped into pieces, but it still looked like a cat, only chopped. There is no way my guys would eat it, there will be a mutiny on the Bounty. I had to disguise it by chopping into even smaller pieces and trying to remove the bones. So, this dish was an experiment, which I probably won't be repeating in a hurry. Or possibly ever.
I have adapted the Two Fat Ladies' recipe and added some ingredients.
Rabbit stew with chocolate
1 wild rabbit, cut into serving pieces
100g pancetta, cubed
1tbsp plain flour
salt & pepper
about 8 banana shallots
10 dried apricots
250ml red wine
200ml stock (a stock cube dissloved in hot water)
1 bay leaf
a handful of fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary
50g ground almonds
50g pine nuts
1tbsp grated dark chocolate
1 tin of mixed beans
In a heavy frying pan brown the cubed pancetta until crisp. Remove the crispy pieces but leave the melted fat. Mix the flour with salt and pepper and coat the rabbit pieces well. Put them in the frying pan, brown them carefully in the fat. Place the rabbit pieces in a deep Pyrex dish. Fry the sliced shallots and add to the dish. Deglaze the pan with wine and water and pour over the rabbit with onion. Add the herbs, nuts, apricots and grated chocolate. Place the dish covered with a lid in the oven preheated to 180C. Cook for half an hour at 180C, then reduce it to 150C and cook for another half an hour with the mixed beans added.
It tasted very gamey, not bad at all, and all the flavours work well together. My husband thought it was tasty.
As for the spring clean, I couldn't part with Two Fat Ladies (but I did take two loads of paperbacks to the charity shop, and ended up buying two more cook books, just don't tell my husband).