Rabbit with new-season garlic, artichokes and white beans

Serves 4-6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Farmed rabbit, which I prefer, has a very mild flavour. It works best with flavours that are equally as mild so the meat is not overpowered. Artichokes are in season, so it's lovely to use them as often as possible.

1 rabbit (ask your butcher to prepare it for you. It should be cut into sixths: 2 hind legs, 2 forearms and the saddle, divided into 2)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced finely
4 fresh bay leaves
1 bunch of rosemary
1 tbsp fennel seeds, roasted and crushed
500ml/17fl oz dry white wine
600ml/1 pint rabbit or chicken stock
6 globe artichokes, hearts only
12 heads of roasted garlic
200g/7oz cooked white beans, such as cannellini
2 tbsp crème fraîche
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season the rabbit generously all over. Place a heavy-based pan over a medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the rabbit pieces and brown well – this will take about 10 minutes; once brown, remove the rabbit from the pan and set aside. Add the onion, bay leaves, rosemary and fennel seeds to the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time. The onion should be very soft. Season with a pinch of salt and return the rabbit to the pan.

Pour over the wine and turn the heat to high. Allow the wine to bubble and reduce by a third. Then turn the heat to low once more and ladle in the stock. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for an hour. Add the prepared artichokes, garlic and white beans and cook for a further 20 minutes, by which time the rabbit should be very tender and the artichokes retaining just the smallest bite.

Arrange the rabbit and vegetables on a large, warm plate. Turn the heat to high and reduce the sauce for five minutes – just to thicken and intensify the flavour. Stir in the crème fraîche, adjust the seasoning and spoon over the rabbit. Serve immediately.