Spice and Herb Potted Wild Rabbit – Christmas Prep

So I have potted my rabbit ready to mature for Christmas. Mine made 4 jars so I ate one after a few days which tasted so delicious on toast. I have 2 jars in the fridge maturing for Christmas and gave the final jar to my parents. I first tried potted rabbit in London at borough market they have a recipe online which I followed with a couple of tweaks. Adding the pork belly is such a good idea as it makes it not to gamey but you still get the rabbit flavour. The meat is so tender and the spices work so well. If your having guests for dinner over the festive period this dish is a real stunner and you can serve one pot between 2 guests.

Ingredients

For the rabbit and pork

  • 500g Pork Belly, tough skin removed cut into large chunks
  • 1 rabbit, jointed (I did mine myself following you tube video)
  • 2 large banana shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Few pieces of orange peel, I used dried
  • 6 juniper berries, crushed
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 75g pack of smoked pancetta cubes
  • 200ml sherry
  • Pinch of fresh pepper and sea salt

For the spice mix

  • 1/2 tsp ground all spice
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • Fresh pepper and sea salt

To finish

  • 250g butter
  • Sprig of thyme for each pot

Directions

  1. Place the rabbit, pork and pancetta is a single layer. Tuck in the dry ingredients around the meat and add the sherry. If the sherry doesn’t cover the meat top up with water so the rabbit is just covered. Place over a medium heat and bring to a simmering boil. Reduce the heat to low place the lid on and cook for 2 hours. Checking after an hour it hasn’t dried out. Leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  2. Set a colander over a saucepan and strain everything from the casserole into it, making sure to keep the cooking liquid. Once cool enough to handle, separate out the rabbit meat, belly pork meat and pancetta into a large mixing bowl. Strip the fat away from the pork belly meat as you go—the fat goes into a mortar, while the meat gets added to the rabbit and pancetta. Discard the bay leaves, shallot, garlic, thyme, juniper and orange peel.
  3. Mix the meats together, shredding with your fingers or a pair of forks to get the consistency you want. Pestle the belly fat to a paste in the mortar, throwing away any pieces that won’t soften. Stir the fat through the meat.
  4. Toast the fennel seeds, juniper berries and chilli flakes, grind and add to the meat mixture along with the mustard, a good grating of nutmeg, the allspice and a ladleful of the cooking stock. Add more stock slowly to get a firm but moist texture. Check the seasoning.Pack into sterilised jars, pressing down with the back of a spoon to eliminate any air pockets. Fill to about half an inch from the top of the jar.
  5. To make the seal of clarified butter: melt the butter over a very low heat. Sit a square of muslin or kitchen roll in a sieve and pour boiling water over it. Set the sieve with its cloth lining over a jug, then pour the melted butter through. Pour ½cm of strained butter over the top of each jar. Leave for 1 min then lay the herb sprig on top. Leave to cool, put lids on and store your potted meats in the fridge. Ideally don’t eat for at least a week to let the flavours develop. The unopened jars will keep for a couple of months but once the butter seal has been broken eat within a couple of days, making sure to bring the potted meat to room temperature before serving.

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