Back to our dinner last Saturday… Christopher cooked the main course and it was a Rick Stein recipe for pan-fried rabbit in tarragon sauce. Delicious!
Even though I grew up in the countryside and have seen both headless chickens and freshly killed game, I didn’t particular like the look of a dead, skinned rabbit, so I won’t show you any photos of that. Christopher bought a whole rabbit at the butchers and then cut it into pieces the way it was described in the recipe. The head and the legs were roasted in the oven to then make the base for a lovely stock, that was the main ingredient with the sauce, and the meat were cut into smaller pieces and pan-fried.
Pan-fried rabbit with tarragon sauce, serves 4
1 x 1.5 kg rabbit
150 g carrots, coarsely chopped
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
150 ml dry white wine
500 ml chicken stock
10 g sprig of tarragon
Bouquet garni made from 1 celery stick, 2 bay leaves and some parsley stalks
20 g clarified butter
15 g chilled butter, cut into small pieces
salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 230C. To joint the rabbit, first remove the head, and then cut off the back legs from either side of the tail. Cut off the tail, and then the front legs. Trim away the bony ends of each leg, and the belly flap and ribcage from the body, then cut the remaining saddle across into 4 evenly sized pieces.
Put the trimmings from the rabbit into a lightly oiled roasting tin and roast for 25 minutes. Sprinkle over the carrot, onion and garlic and roast for a further 15 minutes. Then remove the tin from the oven and place over a medium-high heat. Add the white wine and bring to the boil, rubbing the base of the tin with a wooden spoon to release all the caramelized juices. Simmer for a couple of a minutes, then transfer to a everything to a saucepan and add the chicken stock. Strip the leaves from the sprigs of tarragon, coarsely chop and set aside. Add the stalks to the pan with the bouquet garni, bring to the boil, then reduce to a very gentle simmer and cook for 1 1/4 hours (covered). Strain through a sieve into a clean pan, bring back to the boil and boil rapidly until reduced by about half. Set aside.
Season the pieces of rabbit with salt and pepper. Heat the clarified butter in a large frying pan, add the rabbit and fry for 5 minutes until the pieces are evenly browned all over. Cover, lower the heat and continue to fry gently for a further 20 minutes until cooked through.
Lift the rabbit onto a large warmed serving platter, cover and keep warm. Pour away any excess fat from the pan, add the rabbit stock and boil until reduced to a well-flavoured sauce. Whisk in the chilled butter, a few pieces at a time, together with the tarragon leaves and some salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce back over the rabbit and serve.