Lidgate-licious – Summer rabbit cooked in cider, mustard seed and tarragon sauce

image002At this time of year, new season lamb is fantastic, a good steak is always a treat, but Rabbit can be a forgotten meat. Sometimes considered a winter dish, this recipe brings vibrant, colourful and interesting flavours. Farmed rabbit is a lighter flavour than the darker wild rabbit. Farmed rabbit is also available all year round, fresh and a good source of lean protein.

1 whole rabbit
160ml English cider
250 ml fresh chicken stock
45 grams butter
15 grams tarragon (chopped)
15 grams mustard seed (these need to be gently boiled for 2 mins to soften)
3 tablespoons flour
6 medium sized shallots
80 ml single cream

Method
1) Ask your friendly, happy local butcher to joint the rabbit into six pieces.
2) Season the flour with a little sea salt and coat the Rabbit evenly with the flour.
Then place on a plate while you caramelize the shallots.
3) Gently melt the butter in a pan and add the chopped shallots.
4) Add the rabbit pieces to the shallots in the pan, turning occasionally while they are browning.
5) Remove the rabbit after 5-7 minutes and place on a plate.
6) Pour the cider into the pan you used for the rabbit. This should deglaze the pan.
7) Add the mustard seeds (softened) to the shallots and cider and pour into a casserole dish.
8) Add the rabbit pieces and chicken stock.
9) Place the casserole dish back on the hob on a medium sized flame. This should take 45 minutes or so until the rabbit is tender. Then you can add the cream and the tarragon and cook for a few minutes more. Then serve.

Guests can choose different pieces of the rabbit and each bit has different characteristics. The legs will be meaty and a hungry eaters portion, easy to de-bone and easy to eat. The saddle (middle) has a few more small bones but will have the most tender meat around the backbone, a bit like the sirloin of the rabbit. The shoulders, probably the most difficult bone structure to work around, will be the most flavoursome, perhaps for the wiser, more patient diner. www.lidgates

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