Rabbit with romesco crust

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 8 people

  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 2 rabbits (about 1.4kg each), legs and loins removed, bones broken up with a cleaver
  • 6 flat-leaf parsley stalks
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 each onion and carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 110 gm softened butter
  • 60 gm plain flour
  •  
  • Romesco crust
  • 3 red capsicum
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 200 gm crustless sourdough bread, coarsely torn
  • 50 gm slivered almonds
  •  
  • Carrot purée
  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) milk
  • 8 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 80 gm butter, coarsely chopped
01   Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over high heat, add rabbit bones and stir occasionally until well browned (8-10 minutes). Add parsley, bay leaves and 1.25 litres water (or enough to cover), bring to the simmer, reduce heat to medium and simmer until well flavoured (2 hours). Strain and set aside.
02   Heat remaining oil in a casserole over medium-high heat, add rabbit legs and cook, turning once, until browned (4-5 minutes). Add rabbit stock, chicken stock, onion, carrot and garlic, season to taste, cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until rabbit is very tender (1½-2 hours). Meanwhile, combine rabbit loins with thyme and 50gm butter in a snap-lock bag and season to taste. Seal bag, extracting all air, and add to casserole for last 15 minutes of cooking.
03   For romesco crust, preheat oven to 180C. Char capsicum over an open flame (10-15 minutes), then, when cool enough to handle, peel, remove seeds, coarsely tear and place in a roasting pan. Add garlic and thyme, drizzle with oil, season to taste and roast until dried (20-25 minutes). Transfer to a food processor, add bread and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Season to taste, stir in almonds and set aside.
04   Remove loins from snap-lock bag, coarsely shred and place in a bowl. Remove legs from braising liquid, coarsely shred (discard skin, bones and sinew) and add to bowl. Strain braising liquid and liquid from snap-lock bag into a large saucepan, bring to the boil over medium-high heat and reduce to 700ml (20-25 minutes). Stir flour and remaining butter in a bowl to a smooth paste, add to pan and whisk continuously until thick. Season to taste, pour over rabbit meat, stir to combine, then transfer to a 3-litre pie dish. Reduce oven to 160C. Scatter rabbit mixture with romesco crust mixture, place dish on an oven tray and bake until rabbit is bubbling around edges and crust is golden (40-50 minutes).
05   Meanwhile, for carrot purée, bring milk, carrot and thyme to the simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender (40-50 minutes). Remove carrots with a slotted spoon, transfer to a blender, add butter, blend until very smooth, season to taste and serve hot with rabbit pie.
This recipe is from the June 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
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