Run Rabbit Run...
I am so excited to be part of a recipe swap, especially one that is based on recipes from a vintage cook book (I love old cook books!). I am joining this project several months in, but it all began when Christianna at www.burwellgeneralstore.com (all the way over in sunny California) discovered a book, All-Day Singin' and Dinner on the Ground, in a second hand shop. It has since accumulated a group of bloggers who each month recreate a recipe from the book – tweaking it to their liking.
It has been good cooking with a new ingredient. Rabbit, despite being readily available here in Scotland, is not something I have cooked with before. With trepidation I ordered my wild rabbit from my butcher. I took my eldest daughter (nearly 4) with me to collect it from the butcher whereupon I said “I’m here to collect my rabbit”, she chirped “yippee we’re getting a fluffy little rabbit, and I’ve always wanted a rabbit mummy!” Despite that awkward moment and the fact that I had to remove shot gun pellets from my bunny, I have thoroughly enjoyed my first foray into recipe swapping and I hope you like my take on this recipe.
There are some fabulously talented cooks involved. Please check out their blogs here, Lindsay, Chef Dennis, Mari, Boulder Locavore, Joy, Monique, Shari, Priya, Jennifer, The Cake Duchess, Pola, Mary, Jamie, Crissy and Lauren, Sabrina Modelle, Nicolle, Jacqueline, Linda, Jaclyn, Alli, Rachel Saunders, Lana, Emily, Alex, Shumaila and Barb.
I must admit to being more than a little nervous submitting my recipe to this group of established and entertaining food writers but here goes...
The title of the recipe given in the book is Wild Rabbit with Vegetables. I have given this a Scottish twist as the only Scottish participant (so far); I thought this might be fun.
I did some research into Scottish recipes for rabbit and many of those I came across involved prunes. Prunes, one may think, are an unusual ingredient for cooks in the windswept wilds of ancient Scotland and more usual in California. However, they are a key ingredient in a famous traditional recipe - that of Cock-a-Leekie (chicken and leek soup). I took this as my inspiration and hope you enjoy it.
Rabbit with Shallots, Whiskied Prunes and Leekie Chappit Tatties
1 Rabbit (jointed)
200ml full fat milk
Juice of half a lemon
100g Diced Pancetta or Smoked Bacon
1 Bay Leaf
1 Sprig of Thyme
2 Teaspoons Honey
450ml Chicken Stock
4 Tablespoons Whisky
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
For the potatoes (Leekie Chappit Tatties)
1kg Potatoes (Maris Piper or other fluffy variety)
3 Tablespoons of Cream
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Large Leek
Overnight, soak the prunes in the 3 tablespoons of the whisky, reserving the remaining tablespoon. (I used a speyside whisky, which tends to have more subtle flavours than the the Islay malts).
Remove as much of the silvery sinew from the rabbit as possible prior to cooking – this requires a sharp knife and some patience, this will prevent the meat from shrinking too much.
Measure out the milk into a jug, add the lemon juice and mix, pour into a sealable plastic bag and add the rabbit pieces, seal and place in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.
Preheat your oven to 140 oC.
Remove the rabbit from the bag and wipe off the marinade. Dust the meat in seasoned flour.
In an oven proof pot (with lid), heat the butter and olive oil and brown the rabbit then remove with a slotted spoon.
Add the pancetta to the pan with the shallots and cook for several minutes until the pancetta is browning. Add the Rabbit.
Add 2 tablespoons of flour and stir it in well before adding the stock, bay leaf, honey, thyme, the liquid from the prunes and the remaining tablespoon of whisky. Season. Bring to simmering point and cook gently on the hob for about 15 minutes before putting on the lid and transferring to the oven.
It will require to cook for 2 hours but after 90 minutes add the prunes.
Everyone has their own way of making mashed potatoes, but here is mine for Leekie Chappit Tatties...
Peel and boil your potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain and return them to the hot pan but not directly on the heat. Mash well and add the half the butter, and one tablespoon of the cream. Mash together and add the remaining cream as necessary and season. With a wooden spoon beat the mash until smooth and delicious.
Wash and finely slice your leek and soften for around 10 minutes in the remaining butter and olive oil. Mix most of the leek through the potatoes, reserving a little to scatter on the top of the finished dish.
Serve the rabbit on a bed of the tatties.
(This would also be good with chicken instead of rabbit).