Stuffed saddle of rabbit
with Cranberry and cheese oatcakes
Don’t be scared of cooking rabbit. It’s delicious when cooked properly and you’ll be surprised how much meat there is. You’ll need two rabbits for this recipe – ask your butcher to joint them and bone the saddles. This is great served with some braised red cabbage.
tip: To get the best from rabbit, have it jointed so you can cook the parts in different ways. The saddle is the tenderest meat, so requires much less cooking than the legs or shoulders, which are better braised.
rabbit carcasses, cut into chunks, bone in
2 tbsp olive oil
250ml dry white wine
1 shallot, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
250ml chicken stock
1 bay leaf
sea salt flakes and ground white pepper
4 boned rabbit saddles, rubbed with olive oil and seasoned
250g pancetta or thin streaky bacon
250g baby spinach
125g unsalted butter
3 shallots, finely chopped
500g mushrooms, finely chopped
15g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in a little boiling water
1 tbsp double cream
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 egg white
2 tbsp lard
100g medium oatmeal
100g wholemeal flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp strong cheese, finely grated
8 tbsp boiling water
a couple of good potatoes, peeled
sunflower oil for frying
To make the rabbit gravy
Sauté the rabbit chunks in olive oil until browned. Place the browned rabbit in a saucepan and add the wine, shallot, carrot, celery, stock, bay leaf and seasoning. Cover and simmer until the meat is falling off the bones. Strain and set aside the bones and meat. Reduce the stock from the poached rabbit until it has thickened and the taste intensified, then whisk in a little butter and you will have a nice little gravy.
Once the bones are cool enough to handle, pick off any meat, chop finely and set aside for the duxelles.
To make the duxelles
Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the shallots and sweat until translucent. Add the fresh mushrooms and sweat with the lid on for another 5 minutes. Add the dried porcini, soaking juices and the cream. Stir and cook with the lid off until the juices have almost gone. Allow to cool and then stir in the parsley, egg white and about 300g of the poached rabbit meat. Place in a food processor and blitz, not too fine as you want some texture. Taste and add the seasoning. Set aside.
To prepare the saddle of rabbit
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ Gas 4. Lay the strips of pancetta side by side until you have a blanket the same width as the rabbit saddle. You will need 4 of these. Place a layer of spinach leaves on each one. Close to one end, lay a rabbit saddle. On top of this place a sausage shape of the duxelles — it should be about the same size as the rabbit. Roll this up tightly and place on to an oiled baking sheet with the join facing downwards. Repeat to make the other 3 parcels. Roast in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. lf the pancetta hasn ‘t coloured enough, finish under the grill.
To make the oatcakes
Preheat the oven to 200°C/ Gas 6. Melt the lard in a small pan. In a bowl place the oatmeal, flour, bicarb, salt, cranberries and cheese. Pour on the melted lard and work the mixture into crumbs. Add the boiling water and mix until a dough forms. Roll this out to a thickness of about 0.5cm, then cut into oatcakes using a circular pastry cutter. Line a baking tray with silicone baking parchment, place the oatcakes on the tray and bake for 10 minutes until they are starting to brown at the edges. Cool on a wire rack.
To cook the game chips
Slice the potatoes very finely on a mandolin. Fry in hot oil until golden, then season and serve.
Slice the rabbit saddle carefully and serve on warm plates. Stack the oatcakes and game chips in neat piles and dress with a little of the gravy.
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