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Rolled Deboned Rabbit Stuffed with Herbs


An Italian take on classic Sunday roast, this rolled rabbit is literally stuffed with flavour. The meaty filling of pancetta, rabbit liver and pork sausage – subtly laced with thyme and fennel seeds – is almost a meal in itself! If you haven’t cooked with rabbit before, don’t be daunted by the task. Ask your butcher to do the deboning and reserve the livers for you.

SERVES: 4
PREPARATION: 20MIN
COOKING: 1hr 30MIN
SKILL LEVEL: MID

Ingredients

  • 1 kg boned rabbit
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 ml white wine
  • Stuffing
    • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1brown onion, roughly chopped
    • 1carrot, roughly chopped
    • 1celery stick, roughly chopped
    • 2–3 sprigs thyme
    • 30 g smoked pancetta or speck, diced
    • 2 tsp fennel seeds
    • rabbit livers (ask your butcher to reserve them for you)
    • 250 g pork sausage meat, removed from its casing
    • salt flakes
    • 150 ml white wine

Instructions

  • Cooling time 20 minutes
  • Resting time 20 minutes
  1. To make the stuffing, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the onion, carrot, celery and thyme and cook for 2–3 minutes or until softened. Add the pancetta or speck and cook together until most of the fat has rendered and the meat is starting to turn crispy. Add the fennel seeds, livers and sausage meat and brown well for 3–4 minutes, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon. Season with a pinch of salt. Pour in the wine and cook over medium–high heat for 2–3 minutes or until the alcohol has evaporated. Reduce heat to low and cook for a further 15–20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Discard the thyme sprigs. If you like, you can make the stuffing the day before and rest it in the fridge, wrapped in plastic film.
  2. To assemble the dish, place the boned rabbit on a large wooden board and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the cooled stuffing down the centre, then tie the rabbit securely with kitchen string to enclose the filling.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium–high heat and brown the stuffed rabbit on all sides, then pour in the wine and cook for 2–3 minutes or until the alcohol has evaporated. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 45–50 minutes, turning the rabbit once, and basting occasionally with the pan juices.
  4. Remove the casserole dish from the heat and rest the rabbit in its juices for 20 minutes before carving. This is delicious with any simple vegetable dish, but I particularly enjoy it with broccolini ripassati or stuffed artichokes.

Note

  • It is important that you cool the stuffing completely before bringing it into contact with the raw rabbit meat. Cool at room temperature then place the stuffing in the fridge until cold.

Cook’s notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.