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Bunny Weekend: Rabbit Rillettes

October 6, 2012

Rabbit number one!

It’s been a glorious autumn, and far too sunny to start slow cooking, but I have been wanting to make a terrine or rillettes for ages. Found inspiration in this morning’s paper and luckily the butcher on the market had a pile of rabbits for sale. on the market. Very enjoyable and satisfying thing to make!

500g rindless, fatty pork belly, cut into 2-3cm cubes
1 rabbit, jointed
1 good sprig fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
1 whole head garlic, cut in half through the centre
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 good pinch ground mixed spice
1 good pinch ground mace

For the apple relish:
1 large cooking apple (a bramley, say), peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
1 tsp sugar

Heat the oven to 220C. Put the pork belly and rabbit pieces in a casserole dish or roasting tin into which they’ll fit snugly in a single layer. Add the herbs and garlic, pour over 250ml water and cover with a lid or foil. Roast for 30 minutes, then turn down the heat to 140C and cook for two and a half hours more, until the rabbit is tender and can be shredded with a fork.

Remove from the oven and leave until cool enough to handle. Pull all the rabbit meat off the bones, discard the bones, then shred the meat with a pair of forks or your hands. Put it in a large bowl. Shred the pork, too, in whichever way you find easiest, making sure you include all the fat, and add to the bowl. Work the two meats together, crushing the pork fat thoroughly into the mix so it is evenly spread. Add plenty of salt and pepper – you’ll need in the region of half a teaspoon of salt – the mixed spice and mace, and some cooking liquor from the casserole. Stir, and add more liquid as necessary, until the mix is a coarse, fairly loose pâté texture. You may not need all the liquor. Taste, add seasoning or spices as needed and transfer to a bowl or jar. Cover and refrigerate for a day or two – this helps improve the flavour.

To make the relish, combine all the ingredients in a small pan, bring to a simmer and cook for a minute or two. Leave to cool, then season and add more sugar or vinegar to taste. Serve the rillettes cold or at room temperature, with good bread and the apple relish alongside.

[via Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall]

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