INGREDIENTS

  • 1 fine rabbit jointed into 8
  • ¼ lb of smoked bacon lardons
  • 10 shallots peeled and left whole
  • 1lb chopped young carrots
  • 1lb small baby turnips
  • Frozen peas
  • 75ml bottle of dry cider
  • 50ml chicken broth – preferably fresh
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme

HOW TO DO IT

Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon lardon until they render their fat. Then crisp up a little and remove with a slotted spoon, leaving fat behind.

Place shallots, carrots and turnips in pan, add a teaspoon of sugar, and fry until nicely glazed – but not browned – about five minutes. Remove and set aside.

Place a good handful of flour in a plastic bag along with salt, pepper and the thyme. Piece by piece coat the rabbit in this mixture and fry until golden, adding a little more oil to the pan if necessary. Do this in batches if your pan cannot accommodate all the rabbit pieces at once. Fry until all are golden brown then remove.

Deglaze the pan with the cider, letting it bubble for a minute, before adding the stock. Once it has boiled, turn off the heat.

Transfer broth, rabbit, vegetables to a casserole that can comfortably accommodate everything. Set in a 320 degree F oven and cook for 90 minutes. Halfway or three quarters of the way through cooking, add the peas.

The dish is flavourful enough as is with a raised domestic rabbit. But if you are able to get a wild one, do so. The elevation in taste is sublime. If possible cook it the day before you intend to eat it: not only does the flavour intensify, but it will be easier to remove excess fat from the surface of the sauce before you sevre it over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes.