Mark Hix recipe: Wild Rabbit and St George's mushroom broth

Serves 4

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A couple of years ago, I managed to get into what I call 'the Easter rabbit press saga' when it was put about that we were using unethically-farmed wild rabbits in the restaurants. In fact, we only ever use wild rabbits which have been culled, but still whenever I write a rabbit recipe, I remember the row. Another thing to note is that the other main ingredient here, St George's mushrooms, are rather erratic – certainly with the weather as it is – but if you know a good forager, it is worth asking for these meaty white mushrooms (if you don't, use cultivated mushrooms instead).

1 wild rabbit, skinned and oven-ready
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped and washed
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
6g butter, plus a couple of knobs more
50g flour
1½ltrs chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
100-120g St George's mushrooms, cleaned and sliced if large, otherwise halved or quartered
Leaves from a few sprigs of tarragon
60ml double cream

Remove the legs and shoulders from the rabbit and place in a saucepan with the onion, leek, peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme, stalks from the tarragon and stock. Remove the fillets from the saddle and freeze (save these for a salad at another time). Chop the bones into 3 or 4 pieces and add to the pot.

Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour, or until the meat is tender. Remove the legs and shoulder and place on a plate to cool. In a clean pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour on a medium heat. Gradually whisk in the stock (you need to do it in stages to prevent lumps forming). Bring to the boil, season and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Remove the bones and blend the soup with a hand blender or liquidiser to give it a nice silky finish. Meanwhile, melt the two knobs of butter in a frying pan and gently cook the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes without colouring them.

Remove all of the meat from the legs and shoulders and tear into pieces; add to the soup with the cream and tarragon. Season to taste, then simmer for a minute or so before serving.

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