Braised wild rabbit with ceps

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

A rabbit makes a delicious and cheap autumnal meal, and, combined with some seasonal earthy mushrooms, a couple of rabbits will easily serve four people. I've used ceps here as I picked some in Norfolk a few weeks ago, but it's also easy to buy cultivated mushrooms such as oyster and blewits instead.

I don't recommend braising the rabbits' little saddle fillets with the legs – I think it's best to save them in the freezer to use in a salad. I made a great one the other day with grouse and rabbit fillets and tiny wild bilberries – or blaeberries as they call them in Scotland.

40g flour, plus more for dusting
8 rabbit legs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
6 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
80g butter
100ml white wine
1 litres chicken stock, or a good-quality chicken stock cube dissolved in that amount of hot water
300g ceps or other seasonal wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3tbsp double cream
2tbsp chopped parsley

Lightly season and flour the rabbit legs with a tablespoon of the flour. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and lightly fry them for 2 minutes on each side without colouring them too much.

In a heavy-based saucepan, gently cook the shallots and garlic in 40g of the butter for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the rest of the flour and stir well.

Gradually add the white wine, stirring well to avoid any lumps forming, then add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, add the rabbit legs and lightly season. Simmer gently, covered with a lid, for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the rabbit is tender.

Meanwhile, melt the rest of the butter in a heavy frying pan and gently cook the mushrooms, seasoning them lightly, for 4-5 minutes until they soften.

Add to the rabbit legs with the cream and parsley and simmer for another 5-6 minutes.

Check the seasoning and serve the rabbit with some good mashed potato and autumnal vegetables.