Rabbit ragù

My cooking comes from all sorts of places. In descending order of pleased-with-myself: (1) very occasionally I just invent something new, from nothing; (2) sometimes I eat something good at a restaurant, and then try to make something like it at home; (3) quite often I decide what I want to make, look up a bunch of recipes on the internet, and pick out what seem like the best bits from a few of them and combine; (4) I will also just use a recipe verbatim from one of the four or five cookbooks that are my bibles; (5) now and again I get inspired by some cheerfully gushy celeb chef on the telly and make one of theirs.

This rabbit thing is sort-of one of those. Jammy Oliver was cheekily and cheerfully cooking up a 12-hour rabbit ragù in an old tin can on a campfire in a wet field in rural Wales. Don’t ask me why. But the

butchers in Ludlow are awash with cheap (and already skinned + jointed!) rabbits right now, so I thought “yes, we’ll have some of that.”

I looked up the recipe on-line and hit a minor snag, in that a couple of the commenters on his site were reporting that their results were a bit sloppy and flavourless. My first thought was: wow, this only aired two days ago, did they rush straight out after the programme in the hopes of running over a rabbit in order to be the first to try Jammy’s latest recipe? My second thought was: maybe there are recipes out there for a rabbit ragù that don’t include the gimmick of cooking the whole thing for 12 hours in one big pot, whole unpeeled onions and all? I found a Huge Fearnley-Whittingstall and just set about tweaking it.

Which brings me to this, a rabbit ragù that had a jolly rich and flavoursome taste, a nice oily feel in the mouth and would probably be about right for six portions. Pukka. Nice one. Indeed, luvvly.

Rabbit ragù

1 rabbit, jointed
4 rashers smoked streaky, diced
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 turnip, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp peppercorns
3 star anise
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried thyme
1 glass dry vermouth (or white wine)
olive oil
  1. Put some oil in a big saucepan and brown the rabbit pieces
  2. Now saute the bacon, onion, celery, turnip and carrot in the same pan
  3. Pop the rabbit back in, add the bay leaves, peppercorns and star anise, cover with just enough water and then put the lid on and simmer for as long as possible – 4 hours is good, 2 hours okay
  4. Get some olive oil in another pan, stick in the garlic for a few seconds and then the tomatoes and thyme. Leave this to simmer uncovered on a very low heat for 30-40 minutes
  5. Back to the rabbit! Strain the stock, chucking out the veg (actually I put the turnip in with the tomatoes) but keeping the rabbit and bacon
  6. Put the stock back on the heat, add the vermouth, and leave this to reduce down to somewhere below half a pint
  7. Pick the rabbit off the bones, shredding it as you do so. Dump the shredded rabbit and bacon into the tomato sauce, pour in the reduced stock, and season to taste
  8. Start the pasta now, and leave the ragù simmering and combining flavours for the time it takes to cook the pasta. Job done!

For those of a nervous disposition, no bunnies were harmed in the making of… ah, who am I kidding. Anyone who is squeamish about eating rabbit but who will eat fluffy, gamboling baa-lambs is frankly bonkers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>