Traditional country pursuits reimagined for the modern world
Award-winning author, food writer and chef Gill Meller shares a simple but sublime rabbit recipe.
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Bring me someone who thinks they don’t like rabbit, and I’ll fry them up something that’ll change their mind. If you’re looking for an entry-level rabbit dish, this is definitely the one…
1 wild rabbit, jointed
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 large egg, beaten
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
Sunflower oil, for frying
100g plain white flour, seasoned
100g fresh, coarse white breadcrumbs
Salt and lemon wedges, to serve (optional)
2 or 3 marjoram sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
2 large egg yolks
1 heaped tsp Dijon or English mustard
½ small garlic clove, peeled and grated
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
Pinch of sugar
200ml sunflower oil
50ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Start with the mayonnaise (it will keep in the fridge for several days). Place the egg yolks in a food processor with the mustard, garlic, lemon juice, sugar and some salt and pepper. Start the machine and work the ingredients together for 30–40 seconds, until everything is thoroughly mixed. Combine the oils in a jug, then, with your food processor running, gently start drizzling the oil into the eggs, a few drops at a time at first, then in a steady stream.
2. Once all the oil is in, you should have a thick mayonnaise. If it seems too thick, stir in 1–2 tbsp of warm water. Add the marjoram and the lemon zest, and a little more seasoning, to taste. Transfer to a suitable container, cover and refrigerate.
3. Now for the rabbit. Place the rabbit pieces into a small–medium pan so that they fit fairly snugly. Add the carrot, celery, onion, bay leaves and thyme sprigs and cover with water. Place the pan on a high heat, and bring the contents up to a simmer. Turn down the heat and cook gently, occasionally skimming off any scum that comes to the surface, for 1½–2 hours, or until the rabbit is tender and the meat is coming away from the bone. Carefully lift out the rabbit pieces from the pan, keeping them intact, and set them aside on a plate. Allow them to cool completely, then refrigerate. Strain and reserve the stock – you can use it for any dish that needs a well-flavoured meat stock.
4. When you’re ready to fry, fill a large, heavy-based pan to about 5cm deep with sunflower oil. Heat the oil to frying hot (when a thermometer reaches 170°C, or a cube of bread takes only a minute to fizz and crisp). Toss the rabbit pieces in the seasoned flour, then turn them in the egg and then coat them in the breadcrumbs. Deep-fry the breaded rabbit for 2–3 minutes or until golden, crisp, and hot through. Serve with a sprinkling of sea salt and the mayonnaise, and a lemon wedge, if you wish.
This recipe is from Gather: Everyday seasonal recipes from a year in our landscapes by Gill Meller and is published by Quadrille for £25.
Photography / ANDREW MONTGOMERY
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