Rabbit is in season now. Get yourself a wild rabbit.
This recipe finds the rabbit, tender and falling off the bone surrounded with juicy fennel.
1 rabbit jointed into 6
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion
2 large cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Fennel seeds
2 tablespoons pernod
200 ml white wine
strips of zest from 1 lemon
3 Bay leaves
700 ml stock
about 8 or more depending on size of baby fennel or a couple of larger fennel bulbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
And you could add….
A couple tablespoons cream
Even a little finely grated Parmesan at end……
Tip a bit of flour onto a plate. Season well and dip your rabbit pieces in it.
Heat the oil in a large casserole of oven proof pan. Add the rabbit and brown all over on a high heat.
Chop the onion and smash and crush the garlic with a knife with a little salt. Crush fennel seeds lightly in pestle on mortar or with end of rolling pin.
Remove meat, reduce heat and add the onion, garlic and fennel seeds and cook for about 5 minutes or until softened.
Pour in Pernod and wine and let it bubble up. Pour in stock and slide rabbit pieces in with strips of lemon peel and bay leaves.
Season with pepper, bring to boil then poke the baby fennel around. I think the fennel could have been cut across again into 3 pieces as the thin green pieces were a bit stringy. Put lid on and place in oven for 2-3 Hours or until really tender.
When ready, lift out meat and veg and strain liquid through fine sieve. Return to pan and bring to boil and simmer briskly until reduced by a 1/3. (careful as it will get strong if reduced too much.)
At this point you can just chop the fennel tops you’ve kept back, add to pan and check for seasoning. Or to soften the flavour add just a couple tablespoons of cream too.
Nb. I thought about adding a little more tarragon, (there was a little in the stock.) and star anise poking around in there somewhere. Over kill or just maybe?…… Kept it out this time but actually now I’ve tasted it, a little of those two flavours would twinkle in there.
As a kid I once performed Run Rabbit Run in my village hall for the dramatic society. Getting weird flashbacks……
Rabbit Stock with Fennel
These are the ingredients I had at hand.
For the stock
1 whole head of celery, chopped roughly
1 whole head of fresh garlic, cut in half across the middle
1 bay leaf
3 spring onions, chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 large sprig tarragon
forelegs of one rabbit and bits from two.
Rabbit livers. (from 2 rabbits)
Place the forelegs and bits of rabbit, veg and herbs into a big pot and cover with lots of water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for a couple of hours. Strain through a fine sieve and leave any of the gritty residue behind.
Rabbit Liver on Toast with Parsley and Cherry Tomato Salad
Snack of rabbit liver on toast……
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 rasher bacon, finely chopped
smidge of butter
black rice vinegar or a fruit vinegar or a little balsamic
only salad ingredients I had were flat leaf parsley leaves and a few cherry tomatoes……
maldon salt and black pepper
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small frying pan and add the bacon and shallot and cook for a few minutes until softened and starting to colour.
Throw in the rabbit livers, (trimmed of any sinewy bits form the middle) sear for a minute on one side, seasoning as you go, add the butter and turn to cook for another half minute or so. I like mine just pink.
Splash in about a tablespoon of the vinegar and swirl the pan as it bubbles up. Scoop straight onto the salad and serve with a bit of toast.
These were really good. Not at all strong like I’d thought and quite firm.
I really love liver.
Thinking about the fennel stew now.