Cooked by Angelina - Serves Four
I love wild rabbit but this dish would work equally well with chicken or guinea fowl if you’re not a fan. This dish uses a lot of garlic – and four different types - but the way it is cooked makes the garlic sweet and unctuous – not at all overpowering or pungent.
Black garlic is fermented and the cloves are soft and, as its name suggests, black and it tastes both sweet and sour! Wild Garlic is available in Somerset (and grows mad in our garden!) throughout the spring and has a taste of mild garlic chives – in this dish it is served almost as a vegetable garnish so if it’s not available use spinach leaves and a few chives.
Smoked Garlic adds depth and smokiness and traditional cultivated Garlic cooked slowly is sweet and creamy. You can also just use normal cultivated garlic instead of all the different types in which case use 2 large bulbs. The taste will still be sweet and won’t overpower the delicious taste of the rabbit.
This dish can be cooked in advance and then warmed up when ready to serve.
For 4 People
8x Wild Rabbit legs (or two whole wild rabbits jointed).
100gms Thick Cut Smoked Streaky Bacon cut into 1cm cubes or 100gms cubed Pancetta
2 Large handfuls of washed Wild Garlic Leaves
1 Bulb of Smoked Garlic split into cloves with their skin still on
8 Whole Cloves of Black Garlic in their skins
1 large whole bulb of Garlic split into cloves again, with their skins still on
150ml Good Quality Chicken or Rabbit Stock
100ml Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil – plus extra for frying
200ml Good Somerset Dry Cider
50ml Somerset Apple Liqueur (I used Kingston Black Apple Aperitif)
6 Large Fresh Bay Leaves
Salt & Pepper
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees C.
Heat an ovenproof casserole pan over a medium heat. Add a little olive oil and fry off the smoked bacon pieces until golden & crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and keep to one side.
Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper. Add a little more olive oil to the pan if needed and add the rabbit pieces. Fry off on both sides for a few minutes until golden brown.
Add the bacon back in the pan and turn up the heat to high and add your Cider and Apple Liqueur to the pan and reduce by about a third. Turn the heat down and add your chicken stock and the rest of the olive oil, the black, cultivated and smoked garlic and tear the bay leaves and add these.
Stir well and put a tight fitting lid on the casserole and place in the oven. How long you cook this for depends on the age of your rabbit. It will take between 40 minutes – 1 hour. You are looking for tender meat so after 40 minutes remove from the oven and test. If the meat doesn’t pull away from the bone easily return it to the oven for 10 minutes more and test again. You can keep doing this until your meat is lovely and tender which can take up to an hour – perhaps longer if your rabbit legs are big.
When the meat is ready remove from the oven, taking the meat and garlic out and keep to one side in a warm bowl whilst you finish the sauce.
On the hob heat the casserole with just the liquid in it and whisk to emulsify the oil with the wine and stock. Reduce by about a third or until the sauce has the consistency of a lovely sauce. Drop in the washed wild garlic leaves for a few minutes to wilt through. Check the seasoning and add extra salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in big bowls with either toasted sourdough bread spread with the mashed garlic or some boiled new potatoes.
Enjoy! Angela x
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