Rabbit has not been popular for many years probably due to the onset of Myxomatosis, however it can now be bought farmed.
Farmed rabbit is more tender than wild rabbit, and has a more delicate flavour. In this recipe I have cooked it in beer, as this also makes it more tender.
It was expensive, but worth it, as I was very pleasantly surprised by the result and the way the dumplings soaked up the gravy from the stew. This gravy was rich, smooth, and tasty, and the rabbit was so tender with the meat falling off the bone.
It was also far cleaner than a chicken with absolutely nothing to take off or clean before cooking. There was no fat or gristle, and it turned into a most delightful meal.
Ingredients 1 rabbit (get the butcher to cut it into pieces)
1 375 ml bottle Tooheys Old Plain flour
Dob of butter
4 rashers bacon or proscuitto, cut into pieces
1 sprig of rosemary
½ onion, cut in half
200 g mushroom, cut in half
2 cups chicken stock
FOR THE DUMPLINGS
200 g self raising flour
100 g butter
½ bunch of chives, finely chopped
Coat the rabbit pieces lightly in flour. I do this by putting a bit of flour in a plastic bag, putting the rabbit in, and shaking. Shake off excess flour.
Put a bit of oil and a dob of butter in a large overnproof pan -I used a large wok that can go in the oven as well. Once the oil is hot, cook the rabbit pieces, a few at a time, until they are golden brown on each side.
Return all pieces to the pan along with the bacon and continue cooking until the bacon starts to colour a little -this will be about 5 minutes.
Add the rosemary sprigs, mushrooms, onion, bottle of Tooheys, and the chicken stock.
The bubbling in the photo is caused by the beer!
Put the lid on and let simmer for 30 minutes. Also turn on the oven to 180°.
Whilst the rabbit is cooking, make the dumplings by rubbing together the flour, butter and chives and a bit of salt and pepper. This will turn out like breadcrums.
Add some milk to make it stick together and knead until smooth -this step only takes a few minutes.
Separate the mixture into about 10 portions and then roll them into little balls. If this dough is ready before the rabbit has cooked for the 30 minutes, put it in the fridge.
Take the rabbit off the flame, and evenly put the dumplings on top of it.
Drizzle with some good olive oil, and put it in the oven for 45 minutes.
The dumplings will get bigger as they soak up the juices from underneath, and they will be crispy on top.
Serve as is, or you could put a vegetable puree underneath if required -I served it on a bed of Baby Rocket.