Tonight we’re having mustardy rabbit stew.
I was more than merely taken aback when I opened the package from our local game butcher, to discover that what I’d got wasn’t a whole rabbit or even a few assorted bits of rabbit but two head ends with the heads still attached. Even more distressing was that Barney (squeamish about animal parts and especially eyes) was wandering in and out of the kitchen debating the merits of a selection of Belgium beers). I had to behead the bits of rabbit swiftly and stuff the offending bits into the bin (while they looked at me with reproachful, misty eyes) meanwhile hiding all this activity from himself and agreeing quite randomly that the sour beer was disgusting and the trappist beer excessively powerful.
Still the recipe worked.
Mustardy rabbit stew.
(For two and a lot of gravy left over!)
Preheat oven to about 170C
A Rabbit, jointed
2 heaped teasps of dry mustard powder
a teasp or two of dried herb (mixed, oregano, thyme or basil – whatever takes your fancy)
a couple of tablespoons of light olive oil
salt and pepper
a thick slice or two of bacon (smoked is nice) or a packet of Lardons
1 medium onion, sliced
a clove of garlic, well crushed or grated
a biggish piece of celeriac, peeled and cut into thick matchstick pieces
2 reasonable sized tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 teasps of tomato puree or sundried tomato paste
a 1 inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
a bay leaf or two
enough stock and cider to cover the rabbit bits in the casserole.
a little extra seasoning
In a bowl, mix a handful of flour with dry mustard powder, salt, pepper and herbs and then roll the rabbit pieces in it so that they are coated all over.
Heat oil in a casserole on the hob and brown the coated rabbit pieces then remove to a plate.
Gently stir and fry the onions and bacon pieces in the oil left in the casserole till browned (add a little or oil if necessary to stop it burning) and then add the garlic and ginger and fry gently for a minute or two.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes and the paste or puree, add the rabbit pieces and the celeriac then just cover with stock and cider – about half of each.
Stir, season and bring to a gentle simmer, cover tightly then put in the oven and cook gently for 1 – 1 & 1/2 hours until the rabbit is falling-apart tender. Adjust seasoning. serve with mashed potatoes and a green veg.
(you could use sliced celery as well as or instead of celeriac and you could add sliced carrot for colour – I didn’t have any carrot and I was experimenting with the celeriac which needed using up. I recommend it. Also I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t put this in a much lower oven – about 150 or 160C and cook for several hours – perhaps sealing the casserole lid with tin foil?)
Now what shall I do with the leftover gravy?