A Recipe for April Showers – Braised Rabbit

Now that Easter has been and gone and the shops are no longer full of chocolate egg-shaped treats, I would like to introduce you to a recipe and move away from the sweet-based confectionary that we all associate with the end of Lent.

This recipe may be the one you would like to keep hidden from the children in order for the story telling to continue and more importantly to prevent those tears appearing when they see Bugs’ ears peeping out of the pan! Thus, the key ingredient for this dish is Rabbit, and the aniseed flavour of fennel works really well with the sweetness of the meat.

Braised Rabbit Tortellini with Fennel Puree

For the Pasta

175g Type “00” Pasta Flour

75g Semolina

1 whole egg

5 egg Yolks

Salt

White Pepper

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the ingredients resemble fine breadcrumbs. Check that the dough comes together by pressing a small amount together in your hands. If the mix is still crumble, return to the blender and add a little olive oil. Once the mixture comes together, place on a lightly floured surface and need until the ball becomes smooth and elastic. Wrap up the dough ball in Clingfilm and place in a refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.

For the filling

1 Whole, skinned and gutted Rabbit

1 Carrot

1 Celery

1 Leek

1 Bay leaf

5 Black Peppercorns

500ml Chicken stock

2 Banana Shallots

1 Clove of Garlic

Preheat an oven to approximately 180°C

Place the rabbit into a deep casserole dish. Chop the carrot, celery and leek into even sized chunks and add these to the pan. Throw in the bay leaf, peppercorns and then add the stock (this should just cover the ingredients in the pan). Put a tight fitting lid or foil onto the pan and braise in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat of the rabbit is tender and falls off the bone.

Remove the pan from the oven and set aside until the ingredients are cool. Remove the rabbit from the liquor, pick off the meat and reserve in a bowl.

Finely dice the shallots and garlic without any colour. Once translucent add the rabbit to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and then chill.

Pass the liquor through a fine sieve and into a saucepan. Place on a high heat and reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season and keep warm.

Roll out the pasta dough (using a pasta machine is the best way) until it is about 2mm thick. Cut out circles (25cm in diameter) using a pastry cutter. Place a small amount of rabbit filling into the centre of the disc and fold into a moon shape making sure all of the air is expelled. Fold the two ends of the moon until they meet and then press firmly to secure.

Drop the tortellini’s into salted boiling water and cook for a few minutes, or until the pasta is “al Dente”. Drain.

For the Fennel puree

2 Heads of Fennel

100g Butter

Salt and white pepper to taste

Slice the fennel finely and place into boiling salted water (adding a squeeze of lemon juice will also help keep the colour of the fennel). When soft, drain and place into a food processor.

Melt the butter. Start the blender and add the butter slowly. Once pureed return to a pan, season and keep warm.

To Serve

Spoon a small amount of puree into the centre of a plate. Draw the spoon through the puree quickly. Place the tortellini around the puree. Spoon over a little of the sauce and garnish with some micro herbs.

Top Tip

Using white pepper will prevent your puree and pasta dough from having black specs. This tip will also help you make more attractive lighter sauces and other food items that require that little extra finesse.