Gourmet: Braised Rabbit with Wakame and Cashews
When I was a kid, we would go rabbit hunting every few weeks or so. Dad’d bundle us in the back of the old ute, and, since it was inevitably a freezing winter night, our mittened hands would hang on like crazy as we bounced about; our bodies bundled in a plethora of rugs, blankets, beanies and boots. Rabbits were clean and plentiful back then, and for the few weeks following the ‘big night out’, we’d have rabbit stew, rabbit pie, rabbit braise… well, rabbit everything. One of my favourite rabbit recipes is from Mark Best’s ‘Best Kitchen Basics’. In his intro, Mark says, “This is one of the first original recipes of Marque and shows its age in the use of an imported ingredient. Our ethos changed and became a servant to the bounty of our delightful island. The wakame we used is no longer imported due to the natural and human disaster that is Fukushima.” Another reminder of the value to always, always ask where your food comes from. Braised Rabbit with Wakame and Cashews
1 x 1.5kg rabbit
30ml olive oil
50ml dry vermouth
200ml dry white wine
500ml Sommerlad chicken stock
50g plain flour
1 x large white onion, thinly sliced
2 x celery stalks, thinly sliced
20g dried wakame
100g raw cashew nuts
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Remove the hind legs and shoulders from the rabbit with a sharp knife. Use a heavy knife to chop through the rabbit, just above the pelvis. Do the same just behind the neck.
Use sharp kitchen scissors to remove the belly flap from the loin right through the ribs. Use the neck, tail and belly flap for the stock.
Using a heavy knife, cut the loin section into four pieces across the backbone.
Place a frying pan over high heat and add the olive oil. Brown the rabbit trimmings.
Add the vermouth and wine and cook until reduced to a syrup. Cover with the chicken stock, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
Strain the stock and reserve. Discard the bones.
Heat the butter in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium heat.
Dredge the rabbit pieces in the flour then brown them on all sides in the butter. Remove the meat from the dish.
Add the onion and celery to the casserole dish and cook until the onion is golden.
Add the rabbit in a single layer, then add the wakame, cashew nuts, salt and pepper.
Pour over the stock and cover with a circle of baking paper. Simmer very gently for 45 minutes, or until the meat is just starting to part from the bone. Adjust the seasoning, if required, and serve.
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