When I was a kid, my Dad used to breed rabbits. Not for meat, but for shows where they would be judged on health, grooming and cleanliness by men in white coats standing at long trestle tables (my childhood recollection). Sometimes though, one would end up in the pot as a rabbit stew. I didn’t like stews and I liked them even less when I knew that the rabbit I’d been feeding only the day before in its hutch in a shed at the bottom of our garden, was now feeding me.
So who would have thought that years later, I am eating rabbit with alarming regularity? Certainly not my Dad. A while back, I tried rabbit stuffed with omelette and spinach at a pranzo di lavoro. Intriguing, I thought. Not a combination that would have immediately sprung to mind but delicious nonetheless. I searched out a recipe and during my Dad’s next visit, we recreated it together. Not only does my Dad love rabbit (he no longer breeds them), he is a super cook and this was certainly a dish that required some expertise.
I bought a de-boned rabbit and covered it with chopped sage, rosemary, garlic and salt. It then rested for about 8 hours in the fridge:
Next, I made a couple of omelettes adding a little parmesan, boiled some spinach, drained and squeezed out the water and then fried it with a little butter and oil. The flavouring was then removed from the rabbit, which was stretched out with the omelettes and spinach laid on top:
Now, how to roll and tie it all together? This is where the expertise comes in. With ease, my Dad made a neat roll and while he held it in place, I tied it with cooking string along the length:
It was then seared and simmered in white wine for an hour, turning half way through to ensure it stayed moist. The result:
Impressive and very tasty.
Yesterday, our friends MM & KS arrived for a few days and as rabbit is MM’s favourite meat, it was time to try it again. I had to go it alone (but with her help in the rolling and tying). Her verdict: a complete success! All she needs to know now is where to buy a deboned rabbit in London.
Oh, and I might eat rabbit now but I still don’t like stews.