Stuffed rabbit with armagnac-soaked prunes, braised lettuce, peas and morels

Stuffed rabbit with armagnac-soaked prunes, braised lettuce, peas and morels

By
From
Botanical
Serves
4
Photographer
William Meppem

This is a real Francophile dish. Prunes and rabbit are a tried and tested combination – and are truly delicious. This recipe uses rabbit legs only, which remain delicate and moist, with a simple pork stuffing that incidentally is excellent for a Christmas turkey roast. The morels are the king of French mushrooms; their flavour is distinct and they are truly worth the investment. When purchasing rabbit for this dish you may have to buy a whole rabbit. If so, use the forequarters and saddle for a soup like Rabbit and Rosemary Ribollita.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 extra-large rabbit hind legs
16 long slices of very thin prosciutto
50ml olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
500g Garlic mashed potatoes
200ml Honey and mustard dressing

Stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
100ml olive oil
100g butter
2 brown onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, grated
1 bunch rosemary, leaves chopped
250g minced or finely ground pork shoulder or neck
250g minced or finely ground chicken
150g white breadcrumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prunes

Quantity Ingredient
200g good-quality pitted prunes
2 english breakfast teabags
250ml boiling water
200g sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
50ml armagnac

Braised lettuce

Quantity Ingredient
12 small shallots
250ml Chicken stock
4 small–medium baby gem lettuces, 1 cm excess root removed
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch thyme, tips finely chopped, reserving a few sprigs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g butter
50ml olive oil
150g kaiserfleisch, diced into lardons
250g peas, cooked
150g fresh broad beans, podded, cooked and skinned
1 garlic clove, grated
120g dried morels, soaked, washed thoroughly and stalks removed
1/2 bunch mint, leaves only
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only

Method

  1. To make the stuffing, gently heat the olive oil and butter together over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and rosemary and cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Allow to cool on a flat tray.
  2. Mix the pork and chicken mince together in a bowl. Add the cooked onions and garlic, the breadcrumbs, eggs and seasoning. Check the taste and texture by pan-frying a little piece of stuffing in some olive oil. Adjust the stuffing if necessary.
  3. Cover the prunes and teabags with the boiling water, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and the armagnac. Allow the prunes to steep for at least 1 hour.
  4. Tunnel bone the rabbit legs, removing the thigh bones. Turn a leg inside out, place a little stuffing in the leg cavity then 3 steeped prunes, then more stuffing. Pull back the leg meat to cover the stuffing. Lay 3 slices of prosciutto horizontally on a clean work surface so that they overlap, then put another slice down the centre, vertically, slightly overhanging the other slices. Put a rabbit leg on top in the centre, fold the overhanging piece of ham over the end of the leg, wrap the leg in the rest of the ham tightly, then roll up in 2 layers of plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator. Repeat for the other rabbit legs.
  5. To make the braised lettuce, cover the shallots with chicken stock in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the lettuces, garlic, thyme (reserving a few sprigs for the rabbit) and seasoning. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then add 100 g of softened butter and cook very gently for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the lettuce and shallots to cool in the liquid.
  6. Preheat oven to 260°C. Remove the plastic wrap from rabbit. Heat an ovenproof frying pan over a low heat and add olive oil. Gently roll the rabbit legs in the pan so the prosciutto gets a light coating of oil. Add the reserved thyme sprigs to the pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, turning the legs occasionally. Then add 1 tablespoon of butter, baste the rabbit and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the prosciutto is crisp and golden-brown.
  7. Heat 50 ml of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the kaiserfleisch lardons until well coloured and crispy. Drain off any excess fat.
  8. Allow the rabbit meat to rest while you reheat the braised lettuce. Drain off any excess stock, remove 1–2 leaves from each lettuce to form neat hearts, then add the fried lardons, and cooked peas and broad beans to the saucepan. Heat over a low heat until warm and ready to serve, then lightly season.
  9. In a separate saucepan heat the remaining 50 g of butter over a medium heat and add the garlic and morels. Season well and cook for a few minutes then add to the lettuce and keep warm.
  10. Reheat the garlic mashed potatoes. Drain the lettuce mixture onto a tray covered with a clean tea towel. Arrange the potatoes neatly on individual serving plates. Add the mint and parsley to the lettuce and arrange alongside the potatoes. Cut each rabbit leg into 3 even slices and arrange among the lettuce and peas. Spoon a generous amount of honey and mustard dressing around and serve.
Tags:
restaurant
chef
high end
cuisine
Botanical
complex
challenging
fine dining
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