Rabbit has a sweet, white flesh that is delicious. I prefer the farmed variety, as I find the more gamey flavour of wild rabbit sometimes a little overpowering. The finely sliced potatoes are added to this dish not more than 5 minutes before serving – thinly sliced, they retain a slight bite which is very appealing.
Rabbit needs either to be cooked quickly in a pan or on the grill or slow-cooked for an hour or so. It can become tough when cooked in a style which sits somewhere in the middle.
2 farmed rabbits, cut into 6 pieces – you can ask the butcher to do this
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
1 small bunch of sage, leaves only
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves
750ml/1¼ pints white wine, preferably slightly sweet, such as a Riesling
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced as finely as possible
1 bunch large-leafed spinach, well rinsed
Place a large pan over a medium heat. Season the rabbit generously all over with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, add the oil and brown the rabbit well all over – you may need to do this in two batches, as it is essential not to overcrowd the pan. Once the rabbit is well-browned, remove from the pan and set aside in a warm place.
Turn down the heat slightly and add the onion, chilli, sage, garlic and bay to the pan and cook, stirring from time to time until the onions are soft and translucent.
While the onions are cooking, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Return the rabbit to the pan and turn the heat once again to high. Pour over the wine and let it bubble for a minute or two, then cover the pan with foil and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Cook for an hour or until the rabbit is tender and almost falling from the bone. Remove the foil and add the potatoes. Cook until they are just tender but still quite firm.
Just before serving, stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted. Place on a warm plate and serve.