Friday, 1 April 2016


So Spring has arrived! A new season is a good time to new and exciting things and that is what crossed my mind when I came across a whole rabbit in my local butchers the other day. I'd never eaten rabbit before but I thought it was time to throw caution to the wind and give it a go. I'm pleased I did, it was delicious. If your a fan of chicken, turkey or lamb then you are going to love it too especially after you have slow cooked it for a couple of hours in a vegetable filled broth of herbs and cider and finished off with a touch of cream.

So for this recipe I used a whole rabbit which had been butchered for me already. This was at a weight of around 600g still on the bone. If you can't get hold of of a whole rabbit and can only get chunks of rabbit meat, make sure you get the best quality you can and you will only need around 500g with the removal of bones from the mix. 

I like the mix of the carrots, mushrooms and onions in the broth. It makes the stew have a brilliant country farmhouse style vibe. You can mix up the veg if you like but make sure you stick to the earthy, root vegetable style vibe with things celery, parsnips and turnips etc. For the herbs, feel free to use fresh herbs but what I find is as you are slow cooking this stew it's a lot easier to use dried herbs as they don't have as much of an intense flavor as fresh which is great as you don't want to herbs to overpower the flavor of the cider. It's also less hassle making this a super simple quick one pot wonder!

Now for the cider. The quality of your stew is going to depend on the quality of cider you pour into the mix. Obviously a litre of white lightning is not going to taste as nice as a delicious craft cider so have a shop around and get the best quality of cider you can afford. Don't scrimp on this! Drowning the rabbit in a shoddy cider is quite frankly criminal! To give the cream a creamy finish, a smidge of single cream is added. This thickens the stew slightly but you don't want it too thick, its more verging on the soupy side of a stew. Do not use a thicker cream such as a double cream or you will make the stew too thick and creamy and remove all that hard work that slow cooking the rabbit has created.

Lets get that bunny on the go. This recipe is designed to be slow cooked. I've used an actual slow cooker but you can large pot on your hob if you like and just make sure your rabbit bubbles away on a gentle simmer once you add in to the broth.

Herb and Cider Rabbit Stew


2 Large Peeled Carrots
Handfull Chestnut Mushrooms
2 Large Peeled Onions
1 Tbsp Dried Rosemary
1 Tbsp Dried Thyme
1 Tbsp Dried Tarragon
1 Litre Cider
A Large Knob Of Butter
1 Whole Rabbit On The Bone
Salt And Pepper To Season
150ml Single Cream
  1. Begin your popping your slow cook on to a high heat. Chop the carrots, mushrooms and onions into large chunks and throw them into the slow cooker with the rosemary, thyme and tarragon and then pour over all the cider. Cover and leave whilst you prepare the rabbit.
  2. In a large frying pan on a medium heat, melt the butter, season the rabbit with salt and pepper and pop the rabbit into the pan. Sear the rabbit on all sides using the melted butter until the flesh is lightly browned before transferring thewhole rabbit to the slow cooker. Cover and then leave to simmer away for approximately two hours (time depends on the size of your rabbit!).
  3. If you want to check the rabbit is ready, carefully remove it from the broth and you should be able to easily pull the meat away from the bones. Make sure you remove any bones that might fall back into the broth as you try to remove it.
  4. Shred all the meat from the rabbit and discard the bones and then pop the meat back into the broth. Add in the cream and season with more salt and pepper and leave to simmer for another 10 minutes.
Your stew is now ready to serve. Ladle the stew into serving dishes making sure that everyone has some of the veggies in their dish as well and finish off if with a garnish of any of the dried herbs if you have any left. Warm up some big chunks of bread, liberally butter them and use to mop up every last drop of that delicious boozy herby stew. The rabbit meat should be tender and moist having spent all that time bubbling away in the cider whilst the trio of herbs work together to offer a punch of springtime freshness to blow away the cobwebs of the winter just past.

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