Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Recipe: Rabbit Casserole with Lemon and Garlic

I've been keeping a jointed rabbit from Radmore Farm Shop on Chesterton Road in my freezer, waiting for the perfect casserole recipe to come along. It turns out one was right under my nose the whole time in one of my favourite books: Daniel Galmiche's French Brasserie Cookbook. His lapin en cocotte au citron et a l'ail is a simple and classic French recipe using minimal ingredients to make the most of the rich flavours of the rabbit. This delicious rabbit casserole with lemon, garlic and thyme is a great dish to mark the transition from winter to spring; comforting meatiness and sticky gravy with a refreshing and herby kick from the lemon marinade. Here's my take on it...


1 lemon - zest and juice
1 rabbit - mine was from Radmore Farm Shop, jointed into five pieces with offal still intact
6 tbsps olive oil
15g butter
4 garlic cloves
500ml chicken stock - fresh is best but I used a jelly-like chicken stock pot
3 sprigs of thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Zest and juice a large lemon into a bowl big enough to hold all of your rabbit pieces. Add the rabbit and two tablespoons of the olive oil and season well. Leave to one side to marinate for 5 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven, if necessary, to 180C. Using a large flameproof casserole dish with a lid (Le Creuset or similar works well) heat the butter and remaining four tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat. When hot, add the rabbit pieces and fry until golden brown (about 8 minutes each side, depending on the size of the piece).

3. Crush the garlic cloves, unpeeled, with the back of your knife and chuck them into the dish with the lemon marinade and stir to deglaze the dish of the lovely sticky bits of browned meat. Allow to reduce for 5-10 minutes until the liquid becomes a slightly syrupy gravy.

4. Add the chicken stock and sprigs of thyme and bring to the boil. Cover the dish and transfer to the oven for 30-35 minutes. About 20 minutes in, check the rabbit and give it a stir. I like to remove the lid at this stage.

5. Remove the rabbit pieces from the dish and keep warm whilst you reduce the cooking liquid on the hob. Bring it to the boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer the liquid until it becomes a light, almost sticky, gravy. Pour over the rabbit and serve; it goes particularly well with slightly spicy roasted potatoes and crisp, braised Savoy cabbage.

Enjoy! :-)

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