I love rabbit, and I’m extremely lucky that my partner and mum are also big fans. With the weather feeling particularly wintery of late, I decided it was time for some wholesome, whole cooked hearty food. Where better to turn than a good old fashioned rabbit stew. As always, Canham & Sons in Hove didn’t let us down and my partner managed to source two fresh rabbits – one for the freezer (they freeze very well) for another wintery day…and one for our Sunday lunch.
I wanted to go for a fairly traditional recipe – one with cider or mustard – and opted for the Hairy Bikers’ old fashioned stew from their Best of British recipe book – shared on the BBC’s Food pages. Although I’m not a fan of the TV show, I do find their recipes pretty reliable and very easy to follow. It says it will serve 5 to 6 – but we all have very healthy appetites so, between the three of us, we scoffed the lot.
There are quite a few steps in the overall process, but it’s well worth taking care over every step. Coating in seasoned flour, browning the portions, holding back the saddle pieces for the first 45 minutes or so, adding the peas at the last minute…all make sure you get the best out of the flavours and overall tenderness of the meat and veg. I served mine on a plate of mash that worked brilliantly on soaking up the delicious cider gravy.
We were all very happy with the result. A tasty, hearty meal with beautifully tender meat, delicious cider gravy and carrots that had soaked up all the lovely stewy flavours of the dish.
I pureed my mash a little too much and overall it was too creamy for the dish. We all agreed that a fluffier, perhaps even chunkier mash would have worked better to absorb the juices. We could have done with a few more carrots and perhaps the peas should have been added in the very last few minutes to ensure a firmer texture and more prominent pea taste. The gravy was delicious and, although there was a good amount, we all wanted a little more.
As for presentation…hmm…I often struggle with how to best plate stews as it always looks a little dumped on the plate. So I’ll be checking out Pinterest for inspiration on how to make things look a little more sophisticated and to more of a professional standard.
I checked out a few sites to see what wine’s recommended with a rabbit stew. I opted for a very reasonably priced Bouchard Aine Et Fils Pinot Noir I managed to get on offer through Sainsbury’s at £6 per bottle. It was a great fruity match that really complimented the rabbit without overpowering it.