With David away all week last week, I wanted to have something really special for our dinner on his return because this is something we have always done, whether he cooks or I cook, dependent on which one of us has been away.
So, what to cook…
Some years ago we were travelling with friends through Italy and spent a week staying in a beautiful self contained country homestead in Tuscany. Each morning we would head off in our hire car and return around tea time having seen as much as we possibly could squeeze into the day.
On one of these nights when we returned home, I decided to prepare some Wild Rabbit for the next night’s tea. I jointed the rabbit to save time the next morning, then placed it in a deep bowl with enough milk to cover, put cling wrap on top and went to bed.
(As with many recipes over the years, Mum was a great believer in soaking the rabbit in milk. She liked the skin on the rabbit to stay its beautiful pinky white colour and she also believed it helped save the rabbit from becoming tough)
Next morning I drained off the milk, found a dish with a lid, rubbed the portions of Rabbit with Grainy Mustard, poured in some chicken stock, chopped up some rashers of bacon, added shallots, some fresh Herbs, and some White Wine.
It was one of those things thrown together before you walk out the door creations – no time for browning – just all in.
I set the oven on about 95 degrees Celsius, mainly because I didn’t want to burn the homestead down whilst we were away and secondly, because I knew we would probably not get back until early evening, the space of probably about 10 hours, and would all be hungry!
Now the reason this sticks in my mind, is that when we arrived back from our day, relieved to see the homestead still standing, we opened the kitchen door and the aromas that met us, were simply HEAVEN!
At this point I stirred in a couple of spoonfuls of cream, quickly sautéed a handful of Brazil Nuts, threw them on top, placed the pot in the middle of the table and we all helped ourselves. Tender, deliciously succulent, slow cooked Wild Rabbit.
I have to say that the Tuscan surroundings no doubt gave the dish an edge but it really was very yummy. And so yes, having digressed a little with tales from Tuscany, I did indeed cook this dish of memorabilia, to celebrate his homecoming.
I am pleased to say that the Wild Rabbit was still as yummy and I have added the recipe here in case it has some appeal for you.
Tuscan Wild Rabbit
- 2 Wild Rabbits, jointed soaked and covered in full cream milk overnight
- Approx ¾ cup grainy mustard
- 4 rashers of Bacon chopped
- 3 Shallots thinly sliced
- 2 cloves Garlic crushed
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Oregano leaves
- ½ teaspoon each dried Thyme and Marjoram
- 1 Bay leaf
- 250 ml dry white wine
- 250 ml chicken or vegetable stock
- White Pepper and Salt
- 1/3 cup thickened cream
- ¼ cup finely chopped Parsley leaves reserved for pre – serving
- Joint and soak Wild Rabbits in full cream milk in refrigerator overnight covered with cling wrap
- Drain Rabbit and pat dry with paper towel
- Rub grainy mustard over each portion, completely but not thickly
- In an oven proof dish place rabbit in a single layer
- Add bacon, shallots, garlic, fresh and dried herbs, bay leaf
- Pour over white wine and stock
- Sprinkle generously with pepper and salt
- Place in pre-heated oven on 100 degrees or 90 degrees fan forced
- Cover with lid and cook gently for approximately 8 – 10 hours
- When rabbit is coming away from the bones, stir in cream, top with parsley and serve!
NB: If you would like to use this recipe but eat sooner, use the steps above but place in a non-stick pan with lid in single layer, gently simmer, and spoon the liquid over the portions at regular intervals throughout the stovetop cooking process.
Using this method the Wild Rabbit should be ready in approximately 3 – 4 hours. Finish in the same way with cream and parsley.
And there you have it… Tuscan Wild Rabbit. If you’re thinking of giving this a go please let me know how it went.