Saturday, 3 September 2011

Recipe Swap: Rabbit with Shallots, Whiskied Prunes and Leekie Chappit Tatties

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 (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
250g Shallots
2 Teaspoons Honey
450ml Chicken Stock
12 Prunes
4 Tablespoons Whisky
50g Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
For the potatoes (Leekie Chappit Tatties)
1kg Potatoes (Maris Piper or other fluffy variety)
50g Butter
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).
Serves 4


  1. Claire! First of all welcome to the group! I am from Scottish lineage (though a few generations removed so of typical American mongrel status) and have great friends in Glasgow. I admire your heart 'manning up' to order a wild rabbit from the butcher (that is illegal in the U.S. so not an option) and removing your own shot from it? It feels like your first swap hazing. Yikes! I'm hoping your daughter is not permanently marred from the realization!

    The recipe sounds great. A beautiful way to celebrate the trauma of this recipe's subject certainly. I love that you came at it from a Scottish perspective; brilliant! Great first redo/swap! Toni

  2. Claire- so glad to have your voice as part of the recipe swap group. I love the unusual take on this recipe, and I am especially thankful that you jumped in all the way to meet the challenge!

  3. Thanks Toni and Christianna, I really enjoyed doing it, although not sure I'll tackle rabbit again for a while though! Looking forward to the next recipe swap!

  4. What an interesting life you lead! I could not imagine trying to coordinate evacuation while feeding a baby:)
    I tried to obtain a wild rabbit, but in vain. One day soon it will appear at my door and I will try your recipe (I am very intrigued by the addition of prunes, which I love:)
    Welcome to the swap!
    BTW, love your casserole!

  5. Hi Lana, thanks - so excited to be part of it all!

  6. hi Claire

    its so nice to meet you Hope all is well in Scotland! Ok, I'm with your daughter, I would have much preferred my fluffy little bunny alive, but you did an outstanding job with your recipe, and I am sure it was delicious!


  7. You had to remove your own shot...this is going above and beyond! I agree with Chrianna- it sounds like a hazing. The whiskey soaked prunes sound like they would give such great depth to the rabbit. Wonderful swap.

  8. Hi Claire...guess we're the newbies this month; nice to meet you!

    Let's be honest...there is something about rabbit that just seems a bit squeamish; I'm sure it has to do with thinking of the bunnies your daughter is imagining being cooked and put on the plate. I know that is my issue but I have to say...this does sound absolutely delicious and applaud that you were so 'game.'

    I recently did a whole series on goat meat...sort of the same issue for me there, the unknown, so now I'm thinking I have to try and get over the idea of eating bunny and instead think of it as hare. That might help! Great job.

  9. Hi all, thank you so much for your kind comments - I am loving all your recipes too and it is so nice to meet you all!

  10. Welcome to the group! Great recipe and great post. It all sounds so savory and hearty - a perfect wintery meal. Its currently sweltering where I'm at (hence why I opted for a cooler take on the swap) but I love this! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Mmmmm, welcome with a great first entry!! I had to pull out this month for the first time :( and everyone's recipes are making me drool!!! This is gorgeous! And brava for being so brave ordering that rabbit with your daughter!

  12. Oh my gosh, I can't belive you had to remove your own bullets...I feel very lucky now for my bag of chopped up rabbit. I understand the trepedation of going to the butcher to pick up the rabbit..I felt the same way! Your addition of the prunes sounds like a nice sweet addition to the rabbit and potatoes!

  13. Great to have you join the recipe Swap with your scottish input! How brave of you to remove the shot gun bullets on your own and how brave is your four year old to go to the butcher with you. Guess it runs in the family! I might not make the rabbit dish (I don't think I have the heart to cook one though I dont mind eating it if someone else has cooked it for me- yup I am a hypocrite that ways!), but your Leekie Chappit Tatties are something I will try!

  14. Wow, let me tell you, this looks truly scrumptious!


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