rabbit rillettes with red onion marmalade – serves 6

rillettes are a meat confit which is shredded and mixed with the cooking fat. usually made with pork or duck, they also work well with rabbit, to which I add some goose fat to offset the dryness of the rabbit together with a little citrus flavour

rabbit rillettes:
front and hind legs from 3 wild rabbits
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1 medium carrot – roughly sliced
1 stick celery – roughly chopped
1 medium onion, cut into 8 pieces
4 garlic cloves – crushed
2 bay leaves
200ml goose fat
150ml dry white wine
500ml chicken stock
leaves stripped from a few sprigs of lemon thyme
finely grated zest of half a lemon
red onion marmalade
50g butter
800g red onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp demerara sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
50ml balsamic vinegar
½ bottle red wine
few sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
loaf of crusty bread
olive oil for brushing

Pack the rabbit tightly into a large heavy pot together with the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, goose fat, white wine, bay leaves and add enough chicken stock to cover.

Bring to a light boil, cover the pan tightly and simmer on a low heat for 1 1/2 hours until the rabbit meat is tender.

Remove the rabbit and allow to cool enough to handle, discard the vegetables, keep the cooking liquor

Remove all of the meat from the rabbit legs, discarding skin and bone

Shred the meat finely using two forks and place into a large bowl. Add enough of the cooking liquor to moisten the meat. Add the lemon thyme leaves, lemon zest and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Refrigerate the cooking liquor. The fat will rise to the top and solidify. I serve these rillettes on the day of making them moulded in a chefs ring, which doesn't need the fat. They could also be put into ramekins and sealed with the fat and refrigerated for a few days.