rabbit two ways - serves 4

rabbit cottage pie

4 rabbits, legs & shoulders (reserve the boned loins see below)
750ml olive oil
750ml dry white wine
20g unsalted butter
5 carrots, diced
40 garlic cloves, unpeeled
15 sprigs rosemary
salt & pepper
1 lemon, squeezed
6 tbsp seasoned plain flour
1kg Maris Piper potatoes, mashed

rabbit loin with prunes & pancetta

8 loins of rabbit
8 prunes, sliced into 3
16 slices pancetta

Coat the rabbit pieces in seasoned flour

Melt 20 ml olive oil and the butter together in a large heavy casserole dish and brown the rabbit. Remove.

Add the diced carrots to the pan and soften for 2 minutes. Return the rabbit, pour over the olive oil, wine and add garlic cloves and rosemary. The rabbit should be covered with the liquid. Season and stir.

Make a cartouche of baking parchment (cut a circle slightly larger than the diameter of the casserole) and push down so it sits on top of the liquid. Don't put a lid on. The aim is to reduce the liquid a little during cooking.

Cook for about 2 1/2 - 3 houres on a low simmer. Check with a sharp knife to determine if the rabbit is cooked. The knife should enter the meat with very little resistance.

When ready, remove the rabbit, pick out the rosemary stalks, squeeze out the garlic from their skins, squeeze over the lemon juice and season to taste.

The legs can be served whole with some mash and a little of the cooking liquor onthe side, or make a cottage pie as follows.

Allow to cool a little, then remove the meat from the bones pulling apart to form small pieces.

For the pie, layer the picked meat in a dish, top with the cooked carrots and add a few tablespoons of the cooking liquor. Top with buttery mashed potatoes and bake at 180C for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 225C

For the loins: With a sharp knife slit the rabbit loin horizontally, not all the way through, and fold open.

Stuff with the prune slices and wrap each loin tightly in slices of pancetta

Wrap these rolls tightly in foil twisting each end of the foil to form a compact roll

Transfer to the oven for 8 - 10 minutes, turning 180 degrees after 4 - 5 minutes

Once cooked, leave to rest for a few minutes. Unwrap from the foil and serve