Monday, 9 February 2009

Slow Baked Rabbit with Chorizo & Mushrooms

I have been meaning to attempt more game dishes. Game is something I have not cooked much of and when I have cooked it I have had a few terrible dishes, so my confidence is knocked and I tend to avoid it, but having read the wonderful blog of Hank at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook I am eager to have another go. I took one of the rabbits I bought at the game butcher a couple of weeks ago out of the freezer and had him defrosting overnight then I went and hunted out a recipe I saw on Girl Interrupted Eating for Slow Baked Rabbit with Chorizo & Wild Mushrooms .

Having followed the recipe I popped the dish into the oven and settled down for a wait. The smells coming from the kitchen were wonderful, the sherry and cinnamon were so rich and spicy. Checked the dish after 1 1/2hrs - the rabbit was still rock solid, so back into the oven for a while longer, checked again after 2 hours and still hard bunny. Eventually after three hours with the return of Hubby (he had decided a quick pint at the pub would whet his appitite), I served up the dish at Hubby's request on a bed of rice.

The sauce was so delicious - I am pleased I used the same amount of ingredients for 4 people on the sauce but only used one rabbit, this meant there was still a lot of juice to be soaked up by the rice and took away from the slight disappointment of the rabbit, which was pretty dry and firm, no way this was going to pull away from the bone.

Maybe it was the fact that the rabbit had previously been frozen? maybe I should have altered the timings or temperature? I don't know, but another less that happy experience with game :(

I will not be deterred. I have another bunny in the freezer for which I will find a different recipe and I really want to try Hank's Pheasant Cacciatore . I will try this recipe again, but substitute chicken for rabbit as I will continue to dream about that scrummy sauce.


  1. Hmmm...3 1/2 hours and the rabbit still wasn't falling off the bone? I'd say you got yourself a very old rabbit. I've done similar dishes before with wild cottontails from California and Minnesota and they are meltingly tender after that long. But you are dealing with European rabbit, yes? They are far larger than our cottontails.

    In general, when I am faced with a problem like you had, I give it more time. I've found that game braises in a bell curve: tender at the start, then tough as nails, then, at some mystical moment, it submits and becomes tender again. When that moment is you can only guess, as evey animal will be a bit different.

    Still, nearly 4 hours of cooking should have done the trick. Tell me something: Were the legs good but the saddle dry? If so, then you did OK. Think of the saddle as the "chicken breast," not really fit for stewing but more for faster cooking. Next time just use legs.

    Anyway, I'm rambling...

  2. Yes, it is a European rabbit, my butcher is pretty good, but these were already frozen when I bought them - so no knowing how long they were in the freezer for or how they looked with their coats on. The legs were a little more tender that the saddle, but not by much.

    Thanks for the info. on braising, it makes sense - the last rabbit dish I cooked was a little tough on the day, but the following day when I re-heated it, the meat just fell off the bone.

    I think lesson learned is try to buy fresh, at least until I have more understanding of game and know what to look for. I will persevere with my game cooking and no doubt look to your blog for advice and inspiration.



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