In the previous issue, Matt Fowles cooked his Upton Run Vineyard rabbit “cigars” wrapped in prosciutto with beetroot relish, and asked readers to submit tales of their best experience with eating rabbit. Helen Devlin and Bill Hickford were winners of a Fowles Wine pack, each containing three bottles of Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch chardonnay and three bottles of Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch shiraz. Helen Devlin
Mum always pot-roasted bunnies with bacon. Once it was cooked she would remove the meat from the bone, place it in gravy and serve with crispy potatoes. A very tasty dish but the best bit was before dinner; dad and I used to pick the bones clean. This always made the perfect entrée!
A tad gruesome (or maybe paleo) but the meat closest to the bone is always so sweet.
Early morning 1961 sitting on top of Mount Major at Dookie in Victoria with my dad Jim sharing ‘minced rabbit, herb and onion patties' with freshly baked bread and the unexpected find of fresh field mushrooms cooked in butter on dad's shovel over a camp fire.
Complimented with a pot of black tea.
Needless to say there are a lot of stories and recipes from the times when rabbit was pretty much the only meal on the menu. Mr Nichol's Rabbit
Fifty-five years ago, Mr Nichol used a campfire to bake my first rabbit, with stuffing. This became the unattainable gold standard for all future dishes of baked rabbit.
Only now, as memory fades, can I allow that, “well, perhaps that might be almost as good as Mr Nichol's rabbit”.
Rabbit Chow Mein
Money was scarce so we had rabbit five nights a week. The test for a good recipe was whether the result tasted entirely unlike rabbit. Rabbit chow mein was a good one and had the additional benefit in that it could be renamed chicken, pork or veal chow mein for guests.
There's no other way to justify a rabbit than with an age-old English traditional dish — jointed, coated in seasoned flour, browned in golden butter, then baked with bacon pieces, prunes, a touch of gin, light beer and delicate herbs. Only to be enjoyed with family and a good red.
My wife showed me a recipe for Italian rabbit casserole. It looked delicious, she said she would cook it for me one day if I had a rabbit. Spotlight + .22 rifle + 30 mins = one skinned and gutted rabbit delivered to the kitchen. My dinner — Italian rabbit casserole. Bellissimo!
My best rabbit recipe is called ‘Rabbit Rosso’. Ingredients:
• 2 rabbits • 1 onion • 12 roma tomatoes • 1 cup seasoned flour • 1/2 cup olive oil • 2 tbs tomato paste • 2 tbs olive oil Cut rabbits into sections, i.e. front legs, back legs and 5 body sections. Coat each section in seasoned flour. Finely dice onion. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in large pan and sauté onion and rabbit pieces until nicely browned. In a separate pot, put the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add tomato paste and cook for 2–3 minutes. Add the diced roma tomatoes to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Place the rabbit pieces and juices from the pan into a slow cooker. Pour the tomato mixture over the top of the rabbit. Slow cook for 4 to 8 hours (depending on how old the rabbits are). Once you see the meat falling off the bone, it's ready. Serve with mashed potatoes (I have a good mash recipe) or polenta. Hope you give it a whirl, it's one of my favourites.
My best experience with rabbit was in WA at an authentic Italian restaurant called “Little Italy” in Perth. It was on the specials board and was a rabbit ragout. Fresh pasta, perfectly slow cooked rabbit with bones for maximum flavour… It was outstanding!
Best rabbit experience was in Spain in a restaurant up in the hills. Fresh rabbit lightly seasoned, cooked on a barbecue in front of you. Washed down with Macallans 12 year and some red. Bueno!
Rabbit on Horseback 25 mm pieces of rabbit pierced with a needle marinated overnight in a soy, honey and garlic marinade.
Poach in chicken stock and marinade sauce.
Wrap around a piece of prosciutto then streaky bacon.
Pierce with a toothpick and grill for three minutes each side.
Lay on bed of chopped lettuce sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
A taste sensation. The above recipe works equally well with quail, duck or pheasant breasts.
I'll never forget the first rabbit shot with friends, on what was to be my future wife's parents' property. Lightly roasted with butter and herbs against the bone. What appeared a meagre meal to all initially was agreed by the end to be fit for royalty, and deeply satisfying.
Prior to starting shooting, a few years ago my aunt (Texas, Qld) prepared the most delicious (shot on the property) rabbit ragout with home-made pappardelle pasta. We're visiting them over Easter and I'm looking forward to some more memories and bunnies — the furry kind, not the chocolate ones.