I am always up for trying new foods, in fact there are few things which excite me more. Walking through the meat isle at Coles I was super shocked to stumble upon a small hoard of wild rabbits staring back at me. Despite the ridiculous price tag, the rabbit quickly found its way into my shopping basket and soon after on top of my kitchen bench.
After watching a quick YouTube demonstration on how to joint a rabbit, I eagerly hacked away at the long foreign protein before me. My experience of jointing a rabbit was anything but graceful. The YouTube demonstrator man made it look so easy and effortless, which was completely misleading because I found cutting up a rabbit into neat little portions is anything but easy! After 30 minutes of violently trying to cut through bone, locate the 'saddles' and remove the hind legs, I was left with a very messy and dismembered bunny, but whatever, at that point I did not care, the bunny was portioned and the hardest part of the cooking experience was over.
Once the bunny was cut up (seriously just cut it up however you want), it was smooth sailing from there. After about 3 hours in total I was finally able to taste my first ever mouthful of rabbit! And yum! Why had this experience been delayed so long?! Rabbit is rich and hearty, tasted a little like lamb yet with the texture of chicken. This pie is the perfect winter warmer and a healthy take on the humble pie. Rabbit is a super lean meat and a great addition to any diet. If it was more affordable I would love to eat it more often, however at $16 a rabbit and while living on a uni budget, it will have to be reserved for special occasions.
Adapted from He Needs Food
1 rabbit, cut into 6 pieces
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 sticks celery, roughly chopped
200g smoked pork loin or bacon, diced
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 large bay leafs
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp Juniper berries, crushed
10 drops liquid stevia or 1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red wine (Shiraz works well)
2 tbsp vino cotto
3 cups chicken stock (homemade is best)
1 small sweet potato
Olive oil to spray
Salt and Pepper to season
1. In a large cast iron pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the rabbit and brown on all sides, removing once complete.
2. Add the onion and saute until soft. Add the garlic, carrot, celery and pork, stirring over medium heat for a further 2 minutes. Return the rabbit to the pan, add the paprika and saute for a minute further. Now add the wine, de-glazing the pan, followed by the stock, tomato paste, bay leaf, juniper berries, vino cotto, salt, stevia and thyme.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot however leave the lid slightly ajar so steam can escape, and cook for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Once 90 minutes has past, remove the rabbit from the pot and shred the meat from the bone. Return the meat to the dish and bring the mixture to a soft boil, allowing the mixture to thicken for a further 20-30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 210°C (410F). Using a mandaline, thinly slice the sweet potato width-ways. Once the rabbit mixture is thick and reduced, adjust the seasoning if needed and spoon the mixture into a pie dish, topping with the sweet potato. Lightly spray the sweet potato with oil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the potato is cooked and soft. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with desired green vegetables.