WINNER THE TASTE 2014 – Mains Rabbit and Red Wine Stew


Rabbit Stew with Red Wine

winning dishes

Rules of Debbie’s Kitchen!

  1. Read Your recipe ( turn your oven on if needed) Remembering a recipe is guidance and you can personalise as you desire, TASTE is personal.
  2. When buying ingredients hero the MAIN ingredient in your dish and spend as much as you can afford on the best, you can always use cheaper ingredients for the rest of the recipe!
  3. Get everything out- Equipment & Ingredients  (this makes cooking simpler, quicker, easier and tidying up much faster too!)
  4. TASTE your food all the time ( so have some little spoons ready no double dipping!)
  5. Weigh your ingredients if required in your recipe ( put in bowls , saucers etc just so they are ready for you to use )
  6. Warm your plates if your serving hot food – a gentle warm heat
  7. Start Cooking
This recipe Serves 4 as a good Mains with the Side Dishes (see personalise)  
Time Prep 15-20 mins
Cooking Time – 1.5 hours

Equipment 

Casserole Dish with Lid ( or a good sized pot you can put it the oven and cover with foil)

Knifes – remember a sharp knife is safer than a blunt one

Frying Pan and Saucepan

Potato Ricer or Masher ( or even a fork)

Bowls, for your ingredients

Foil

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 12 small shallots
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 2 x 100g smoked back bacon, diced ( or pancetta whatever is in your budget)
  • 500g-600g  young rabbit leg and breast meat, de-boned ( your local butcher or local market is best for this- remember to buy local when you can) 
  • 100-150g Seasoned flour ( this is normal plain flour with salt and pepper mixed through it)
  • 750ml bottle rich red wine ( and the rule of thumb is if you won’t drink it don’t use it, hero the ingredients and this is a key ingredient)
  • 50g sugar
  • 100ml red wine vinegar ( Sherry vinegar, tried it with normal vinegar and its not dense enough, you can now buy little bottles at the supermarkets or go to a specialist and get the quantity you need)
  • 2 litres veal stock (this can be substituted with chicken stock)
  • Tomatoes on the vine (I specify on the vine as the quality and flavour is better, or grow your own! although you can use a good quality tomato)
  • 1 cup cannellini beans, (fresh or dried and soaked overnight, or if you need to use a tin make sure it the beans in water and not with added sugar)
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh basil and Sage

For the tomato sauce

  • 2 -6 cloves of  garlic ( your taste preference)
  • 400g can plum tomatoes
  • 500ml veal stock ( again you can use vegetable or chicken stock it wont be as a rich flavour but cook it our for longer to intensify the lighter stocks if your using them)
  • 75-150g g salted butter ( I use 150g in my sauce you can add less!)

For the mash

  • 1.5kg floury potatoes
  • 100g butter
  • White pepper

How to Cook Method

1. Cook the celery, carrot, onion, garlic and shallots in a little olive oil for 10 minutes until soft but not brown ( this is called a mirepoix and is a base for many things -great for soups too)

2. Add the smoked bacon/pancetta and cook for another 5 minutes.

3. Dust the rabbit breast and leg in the seasoned flour ( to make less mess pop the seasoned flour in a clear bag ie freezer bag and put the rabbit legs/breast in and shake until evenly coated)

Then cook the pieces of rabbit on each side until brown in a frying pan with a little olive oil. (Take your time doing this it seals the flavours and juices , don’t overcrowd your pan either better to do slowly and carefully than rushing.)

Put into a buttered casserole dish with a lid (or if no Lid seal with foil tightly when you put it into the oven)

4. Put the red wine, sugar and vinegar into the same pan you cooked the rabbit in and push a spoon around to lift all the bits from the bottom , this  will deglaze, remove all the good cooked bits on the bottom of the pan-added flavour.

5. Pour the mixture over the rabbit along with the stock, tomatoes and vegetables and pancetta you had cooked until soft ( your mirepoix). Put this into the oven at 180 degrees, for 45 minutes, making sure the rabbit is covered with the stock/liquid.

6. Fry the remainder of the pancetta/bacon until crisp. Add the beans to the pan and allow to warm through- put aside.

7. For the tomato sauce, heat some oil in a pan and fry the garlic until soft and cooked but not brown.

8. Then add the tinned tomatoes and 500ml stock and cook for 45 minutes or until reduced and slightly thickened. Stir in a little butter and season with salt and pepper.

Whilst the Rabbit is cooking and the tomato sauce is bubbling away make your mash

To make the mash, boil the potatoes in their skins until tender. Peel and push through a ricer, ( if you don’t have a ricer, use a masher or a fork until smooth ) mixing in the butter and some salt and white pepper to taste.

9. After 45 minutes take the Rabbit Casserole out of the oven .Pour the tomato sauce over the rabbit, then cover pop back in the oven.

After 30 minutes add the 1 sprig of chopped basil, beans and pancetta and cook for a further 15 minutes until the rabbit is tender.

10. Remove the stew from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Whilst the dish is resting deep fry your basil and sage until crispy as your dressing/topping or slice into julienne strips whichever you prefer.

11. Spoon the mash onto serving plates and sit the meat on top. Pour over the sauce and beans and sprinkle with sage, rosemary and salt to serve.

Personalise- make it your own

Remembering cooking is about YOUR TASTE and what you like, add what you think goes, consider the light gameness of the rabbit, the richness of the sauce and the creaminess of the mash . I suggest :

Due to the richness of the dish buttery Cabbage or Kale would be great

Pea, Sage and Wilted Lettuce also a great side dish ( easy to do melt some butter in a large frying pan add the greens and cook until wilted -serve immediately drizzle with olive oil or a knob of butter, season )

Braised Gem Lettuce  ( pop the lettuce into vegetable or chicken stock with seasoning, simmer until soft and lightly wilting, drain and serve with sage butter)

Cumin Carrots – roast the carrots with cumin butter and serve alongside

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