Potted rabbit

Potted rabbit
The opposite of the word “love” is “hate” and that is the emotion that I feel when I see the holes in my garden and the damage that rabbits do to my lettuces. However, it’s the former that comes to mind when they’re tuned into food and this is a real traditional country method of cooking and preserving the meat; not unlike the French way of confiting meat by slow cooking in fat. It’s also become a favourite on our menu.
One whole rabbit.
Two to three packs of lard or goose fat.
Four star anise.
One bulb of garlic – peeled.
One tablespoon of fennel seeds.
Ten black peppercorns.
One sprig of  thyme.
Three bay leaves.
One sprig of rosemary.
One bunch of curly parsley.
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Place all the ingredients apart from the rabbit, salt and parsley into a deep-sided roasting tin and place in the oven for a few minutes until the fat has melted.
Remove from oven and turn the temperature down to 140°C, gas mark 1. Place the rabbit into the roasting tin, making sure it’s fully submerged in the melted fat. Cover with a couple of layers of tin foil and cook in oven for five to six hours.
When removed, allow to cool just enough to handle and carefully take the rabbit from the fat and pick the meat from the bones, placing it in a large bowl before breaking it up with a fork. Then pour ¼ of the fat through a sieve and onto the rabbit. Save the excess fat for further potted rabbits or for roasting potatoes.
Some rabbit stock will have separated to the bottom of the roasting tin so carefully spoon off the fat and add the remaining stock to the rabbit in the bowl. Taste and season with plenty of  salt and pepper. Add the chopped parsley and mix in well. Then simply spoon the rabbit into ramekins (if you’re going to eat it immediately) or sterilised storage jars and pour a thin sealing layer of the melted fat or clarified butter over the top. It’ll keep in a fridge for several months.
Lovely served with toast or a little salad.

Jan 2011

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