Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spit Roast Rabbit

Was off looking for beef the other day, no surprise there, but couldn't find what I was after and spotted some good looking rabbits for sale so went for one of those instead. Talk about from one extreme to the other!

Been meaning to try a rabbit for ages, and had the idea that it might work out well marinated with lots of herbs, wrapped in fatty bacon and spit roasted, so that's what I did. Took loads of fresh marjoram from the garden, some garlic, plenty of oil and left it for about three hours or so in the fridge.

The Rabbit and ingredients

Ready to go in the fridge

Rabbit can be a notoriously dry meat, so I needed to wrap it in plenty of bacon in order to keep it moist on the spit. It was well seasoned first, and then loads of streaky went round secured with toothpicks.

Wrapped and ready for roasting

Then into a hotish oven for about 45 minutes. Came our rather well I reckon.

Crispy baconed rabbit!

With it I prepared a Tian of potatoes, another first, which is basically thinly sliced potatoes cooked in olive oil in a sort of cake. In the meantime B had prepared a leek and fennel mousse with a red pepper sauce, inspired by the Exe Shed restaurant in Exeter, which we had with toasted tortillas as a starter.

The leek & fennel mousse starter

The finished rabbit with the tian of potatoes

End result? Well, the starter was the star in the end, but you probably guessed that from the pictures. Yes it did taste as good as it looked! Rabbit was very tasty but still a bit dry - should have added even more bacon to the back legs perhaps, or maybe I just cooked it too long and too hot. The bacon was to die for, can't beat good bacon well crisped I reckon, but the potatoes were disappointing as well - far too oily. I did follow the recipe for them in their case, something I only tend to do when trying something very new, but wished in the end I'd trusted by own judgement rather than the book.

I guess you can't win them all, but always fun trying new things. Rabbit is usually braised, but I reckon I can pull this off with a bit more practice, and the left over meat has gone into making a fabulous sauce for pasta - nothing is ever wasted round here!

Meanwhile back to today, and another roast. Lamb with new potatoes from the village, a fresh mint sauce made with our own mint and some minted broad bean puree with our broad beans. At least that's the plan. Now where am I going to find a good local piece of lamb on a Sunday morning ...


casalba said...

That looks good, even though you say it was a little dry. Love the crispy bacon, but would love, even more to have that recipe for the leek and fennel mousse.

Maybe if you'd put the rabbit in a self-basting roasting tin rather than on a spit...?

Can I share a recipe for rabbit in Marsala here? Because I see already you make a great passata.

Chop an onion and saute in a little olive oil. Add rabbit in pieces, as they begin to brown add a good splash of Marsala so it goes "shhhshh!" Add your excellent passata, cover and simmer on a low heat. (Even better done in a slow cooker.) It is never, ever dry cooked in this way - promise. Add some porcini for more depth/earthiness, and/or some finely chopped celery and carrots at the onion stage.

Rich said...

I think I've just cooked it too long to be honest, but nice idea. That Marsala thing sounds good, think I've got some of that in the cupboard so might have to give it a try.

I don't have a recipe for the mousse I'm afraid - it was inspired by the Exe Shed restuarant here in Exeter, but we just made it up at home along the same sort of lines. Just softened some sliced leeks and chopped fennel (about the same amounts) in butter very slowly till they were tender - didn't want to colour them at all, so kept the lid on as well so that they wouldn't dry out but steam at the same time a bit in their own juices. Left them to cool, then added some cream (double I think, but single would probably be OK - it was whatever was left in the fridge!) and salt & pepper and blended it all into a puree. Finally whipped up an egg white till stiff, and gently folded it in to create the mousse effect. then into the fridge till nice and firm. As you can see from the picture, kept some of the fennel fronds as well just to give it that gourmet touch :-)

casalba said...

Thank you for the recipe. I understood exactly what you meant -although I'll have to substitute butter with olive oil and some soft cheese instead of cream. (This because other half is lactose intolerant - luckily cheese is still OK). With or without the butter and cream, leek and fennel is a combination I'm certain is a "goer". Why didn't I think of that?

Cath said...

Hi Rich

Used to make Rabbit au Vin, just substitute the chicken. It was always tender and moist. We kept rabbits as children, we thought as pets, but my father had different ideas and we never knew we were eating rabbit!

Now that I have them here, I won't eat them, my gardener does! Everytime we miss one, Nat has to convince 2 year old Anya that it's gone to another home! Layla arrived 8 weeks ago. I will eat the ducks and I keep broilers and layers as well for eggs. Also have sheep and one goat which has an identity crisis! Don't know if you knew I had left Faraway, reluctantly, but had to before it fell on my head. Now have 10 acres further down above the church. Lovely. Fleur and Daniel were here for 2 weeks and Brian joined them for another 10 days. Just did Roast garlic chicken on the spit for Gerry. Is good.

Rich said...

Sounds great Cath - must remember that vin one, often think of that recipe and have some wine that probably would be better off in the pot to be honest - bit sharp for my taste.

Heard you'd left Faraway but the new place sounds great - very jealous of all that space. You ever tried making cheese? It's something I've been meaning to do, but just been amassing books on it so far.

Cath said...

No, but have thinking about it. Pepe who was the Costa Rican Ambassador here and rented one of Christine's houses, used to make it. He was here the other day and I wanted him to show me how, but he didn't have time.. He says it's easy, so must try it. I have an enormous cheese book, so must see if that helps. otherwise the internet would help.
Must check it out, sometime! Two infants keep you busy.

Anonymous said...

Huh I shot a few rabbits on Tuesday and I'm going to spit roast one on Sat. I thought of wrapping them in Prosciutto or pancetta....might even go with bacon.

I'm looking forward to seeing the result. Thanks for the story

Rich said...

Thansk for the comments - hope the rabbit worked out well. Great blog by the way, love the photography in particular. I must get back to writing mine again, becoming a father has kind of taken priority right now!

Spit roast cattering said...

We provide spit roast cattering services but none of our clients ever asked for a rabbit spit roast.. i wish we would get any soon.. by the way .. it looks delicious :)


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