Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I wanted to use hare; the chocolaty, rich hare ragu with papparadelle I'd eaten at Polpetto earlier this month was so good it slotted in right at the top of my Must Replicate list. This one was smooth, thick, and got the saliva hopping and jumping on the taste buds. Not one hair, bone or tooth in sight. Got to have it again...

Not that simple. As it turns out you have to be quite an efficient little bunny to get your hands on a hare, or indeed its meat. 'A few days to get it in' said the butcher. And the next, and the next.

Waiting a few days wasn't too much of a problem - 3 days would allow me to come up with the perfect recipe - but I had to feed people that night. If the result were anything like Polpetto's I'd want to share it with friends and a good deep, musty red wine. 3 days later it'd be just me and a lot of meat to freeze.

The butchers did, however, have wild rabbit - not as juicy or rich but a good enough compromise to play with. This recipe is not really a ragu - that'll have to wait for the hare - but it's great recipe for converting rabbit haters (or are they lovers?).

It's wild rabbit for a start - not a domestic pet pinched from some old lady's garden - and it's mixed with enough spice and wine to convince friends to replicate it.

Until they get back home to darling Fluffy.


serves 4-6

6 streaks pancetta, chopped

1/2 white onion, finely chopped

3 small carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 rabbits/ approx. 600g meat, boned and roughly chopped

1 1/2 glasses red wine

small bunch thyme

200ml chicken stock

200g tinned plum tomatoes

2 portobello mushrooms, sliced

1tsp medlar or redcurrant jelly

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 hot red chilli, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

generous pinch salt

1 litre water

200g instant polenta

100g Parmesan, grated

bunch flat leaf parsley to serve, chopped (optional)

Fry the pancetta in a little olive oil until crisp. Add the onion and soften. Then add the carrots. Fry for another minute or so.

Now add the rabbit and fry on a medium heat until browned on the edges. (If you are cooking with more, you may want to do this in batches)

Turn up the heat and pour in the red wine. Bring to the boil, and reduce the liquid until the alcohol has burnt off. Add the stock, tomatoes, mushrooms, jelly, spices and herbs and allow to simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Test for seasoning and keep warm while you make the polenta.

Bring the litre of water to the boil. When bubbling, pour in the polenta and immediately stir with a whisk. When it begins to thicken add a touch of salt and all of the Parmesan. Serve when thick and creamy, top with a spoonful of the rabbit and a garnish of parsley.


  1. YUM I love rabbit. I don't fancy boning it though so do you think that I could strip the meat off the bone once cooked?

  2. I'm sure you could - either would be fiddly but easily acheived. The longer you cook the rabbit, the easier it will be to take the meat from the bone. The bones will give it a good flavour too!