Whole Roasted Rabbit

Cooking a whole rabbit may seem a bit daunting to some, as it’s either your first time, or you have tried it before but it didn’t turn out quite like you expected.  With rabbit meat being such a high protein and low fat meat, you need to put in a little effort to get it spot on.  Believe me, when you do, it is so worth it.  One whole rabbit will easily serve a family of four, but keeps surprisingly well, so you can always make gourmet rabbit sandwiches (think mustard, gherkin, rabbit & mayo with some brie / camembert and fresh rocket) with the left overs.

whole roasted rabbit cassrole whole roasted rabbit stuffed

whole roasted rabbit

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole rabbit
  • 150g butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced / crushed
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, finally chopped
  • Half a lemon, pulp removed – you want the lemon shell
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon maldon salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup of good quality chardonnay (wooded is nicest, but unwooded will do just as well)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

METHOD

Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees. Give your whole rabbit a good rinse, removing the livers and kidneys (keep these for a delicious paté), then pat dry with paper towel.  Squeeze the juice from half a lemon, which should give you your 3 tablespoons for later use.  Remove any pulp from the lemon and stuff with the 1/4 onion, a sprig of rosemary and half the crushed garlic.  Set aside.  In a saucepan, place the butter, remainder of the garlic and rosemary, the two bay leaves and the salt and pepper.  Heat lightly for the butter to completely melt and the flavours to infuse into the butter – do not rapidly boil the butter as the garlic will burn. Now insert the stuffed lemon into the cavity as shown in the picture below.Place the rabbit into a braising dish on its side, then using a pastry brush, liberally coat with the butter, garlic and rosemary mixture, removing the bay leaves and adding them to the lemon in the cavity.  Turn rabbit around and brush again liberally with the remaining butter.  What ever butter is left, pour over the rabbit.  Your rabbit is now ready for the oven.  Place in the oven, without a lid, for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven.  Turn the rabbit over, and brush again with the butter at the bottom of the pan.  Now add your wine and lemon juice, cover the rabbit and place back in the oven.  It will now need another 1 hour in the oven, turning the rabbit every 15 minutes.  After 1 hour, remove the lid or foil, crank up the oven to full, and place back in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Remove, turn the rabbit again and place back in the hot oven to brown the other side slightly.  Remove from the oven, cover and allow the rabbit to rest for at least 15 minutes.  Once nicely rested, remove the rabbit onto a chopping board, and then strain the remaining juices into a saucepan and reduce until you get a nice thick gravy consistency.  Carve up your rabbit and serve with your Sunday afternoon favourites – roast potatoes, veggies, or what ever tickles your fancy. Bon Appetit!

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