Although most people think of rabbits as fluffy white pets, or cartoon characters like bugs bunny, cute and cuddle, innocent and helpless but here in Italy they are a popular item found in many towns and cities in the kitchen and on the dinner table.
Classed as a game meat rabbit is an lean, high in protein white meat, full of flavor and just like chicken can match and be paired with many different ingredients and cooking methods used.
It can how ever be dry out every easily because it is so lean, so you must take care and choose the right method of cooking for each part of the animal. This dish how ever is my favorite way of preparing this wonderful meat, using a stuffing full of flavor and adding extra fat you can turn one rabbit which would normally used to serve 4 people into a elegant and tasty meal for up to 8. This popular meat from the early part of this century is now making a come back, not only in restaurants but also into kitchens and home’s across italy and the world. So next time your thinking of something different and unique to cook, ask your butcher for a rabbit.
— 1 rabbit (deboned, but keep the bones for stock/sauce)
— 200g minced chicken
— 150g sausage
— 4 artichokes
— 20ml cream
— 3 medium potatoes
— 1 carrot
— 1 onion
— 1 celery stalk
— 150ml dry white wine (Santa Cristina Bianco)
— Salt and pepper
- In a backing tray, place your chopped carrot, onion and celery and the rabbit bones, bake in a preheated oven at 180c until the bones are brown (30 min), then transfer to a pot and add your white wine, let the wine reduce then add enough water to cover the bones and cook on low heat until the stock reduces to a sauce like consistency. this can take around an hour and can be done while you prepare and cook your rabbit.
- You will need too make your chicken mousse, this is used to fill any gaps int he rabbit before you stuff and roll. Mixed the chicken with the cream, thyme, chopped parsley, season with salt and pepper. Clean and slice your artichokes, sauté until tender, remove your sausage meat from the skins, and mix with the sauteed artichokes.
To stuff your rabbit, take a large sheet of baking paper, drizzle with olive oil and place the rabbit meat on the paper.
- Season the rabbit with salt and pepper, and fill all gaps with the chicken mousse, this will give an even surface and allow the meat to cook evenly. Down the middle place your sausage and artichoke stuffing and just like sushi, roll your rabbit nice and tight with the baking paper. Tie with kitchen string to hold the rabbit in place and keep its shape. Wrap with aluminum foil and place in a large backing tray. Cook your stuffed rabbit at 180c for 45min, remove and chill to stop the cooking process.
- Peel your potatoes and slice very fine and layer the slices on a tray with baking paper, season with salt and pepper, olive oil and bake until tender and golden. This will be a base for your rabbit.
- Once your rabbit has chilled, remove the aluminum and paper, cut into portions, and in a large pan on high heat, brown each portion until golden then finnish in the oven for 8min to bring the heat back into the meat.
Plate your rabbit on top of your potato cake and finnish with your sauce and a garnish of rosemary.