Wild rabbit is one of those forgotten tastes that should definitely be brought back to the table.  Rabbit is good value, lean, healthy, and extremely tasty.  It’s also sustainable with numbers needing to be controlled, especially around Chidham where these rabbits have come from.

This casserole is rich, fragrant and ideal for a damp January supper.  The recipe originates in Normandy with the apples and cider offering sweetness, and the cannellini beans are ideal for soaking up the flavours.

This is the last of the wild rabbit for a while, as our local ferret expert leaves them in peace during the Spring breeding season, so grab one now for £5.99 each, prepared and ready for the pot.

RABBIT CASSEROLE WITH APPLE, CIDER AND TARRAGON

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of Mr Organic cannellini beans
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 200g of smoked bacon lardons, or pancetta
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 dessert apples, (e.g. Braeburn), peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 1 large rabbit, preferably wild, jointed
  • 500ml of cider
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch of thyme,
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/ gas mark 5
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the bacon for 5 minutes, until golden brown. Then transfer to the casserole pan and add the drained cannellini beans.
  3. Lower the heat and add a little more oil to the frying pan. Add the shallots, gently fry for 5 minutes, then add the diced apple. Cook for another 5 minutes then transfer to the casserole pan.
  4. Place the flour in a freezer bag and season well with salt and pepper. Add the rabbit pieces and shake the bag to coat the pieces evenly
  5. Add another tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and fry the rabbit pieces in batches until browned on both sides. Add to the casserole pan
  6. Deglaze the frying pan with 100ml of the cider, scraping any bits away from the base of the frying pan. Transfer to the casserole pan
  7. Pour the remaining cider into the casserole pan and stir in half of the thyme, along with the bay leaf. Place the casserole over a medium heat and bring to a simmer
  8. Cover the pan and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender. Check the seasoning, sprinkle with the rest of the tarragon and serve

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