Rabbit Casserole with Shallots and Walnuts
- 1 rabbit or 5–6 rabbit pieces
- 2 medium sized onions
- 18 shallots
- 1 swede
- dried parsley, thyme and a bay leaf
- generous glass of red wine
- ¼ pint stock if available or water
- 3–4oz shelled walnuts.
- fat or oil for frying (I have a reserve of goose fat after Christmas dinner)
- salt and pepper.
Set the oven to 180°c.
Peel and slice the onion and peel the shallots, fry together in a tablespoonful of oil/fat until the onions are brown and the shallots have started to brown. Set aside.
Cut the rabbit into 5 pieces: 2 legs, 2 shoulders and the saddle. Keep the neck to add flavour (the saddle can be cut in 2 to give 6 portions if it is a large rabbit) toss in seasoned flour.
Add a little more fat to the frying pan, turn up the heat and fry them quickly to seal in the juices. Put into a large casserole.
Pour the wine and stock into the frying pan, stir well to dissolve any sediments, taste and adjust the seasoning then add to casserole with the onions, peeled and chopped swede and the walnuts.
Cover the casserole and put into the oven, cook for about 1 ½hrs. Half way through the cooking gently stir the ingredients. Add more liquid if necessary, the meat should be only partially covered but a good and abundant gravy is what we enjoy. If you decide to cook the red cabbage it goes into the oven at this stage.
When the meat starts to leave the bone it is ready to serve, straight from the casserole. You can thicken the gravy a little, if that is what you like, by mixing some flour with water and adding it to the casserole by degrees, keep the casserole at simmering point so that the starch in the flour bursts and thickens.
We usually have a baguette available to mop up the juices. Also napkins are essential if you like to suck the bones.
Tip: Most casseroles can be cooked on top of a gas stove if you have a thick based casserole and a heat disperser. We often have a meal in a pot by adding potatoes and carrots on top of the casserole where they will slowly steam cook. The heat disperser reduces the risk of the base of the casserole burning, they cost under a tenner and are an investment for years to come.