This morning, I took two visitors (my aunt, and a mutual friend from overseas) to the local farmers' market; this evening, having made use of some of the produce thereof, I dished up a nice rabbit stew, which seemed tasty enough. The rabbits are farmed, not wild-shot (my uncle told me that the latter, to be found up at the Great Lake, would be more flavoursome). Herewith, the recipe, based on my own very hazy notions of what to do with the ingredients (all of which came from the market, excepting wine, onion and salt already in the kitchen, plus thyme picked from the garden):
1 kg rabbit forequarters
1 onion, finely diced
1 bunch baby leeks, washed and diced
1 bunch heritage carrots in various colours, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bunch baby parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large handful of fresh thyme shoots
1 cup white wine (semillon sauvignon blanc)
generous pinch of salt
1. In a fry pan, successively melt sufficient butter wherein to saute first the rabbit, then the onion, then the leeks, then the carrots and parsnips.
2. Put each sauteed foodstuff into a slowcooker or large ovenproof casserole with snug lid.
3. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and add the liquid to the rest of the ingredients, throwing in the thyme leaves (stripped from the shoots) and seasoning.
4. Cook for hours at low temperature in slowcooker or oven until the rabbit comes away from the bones.
5. Serve with plenty of mashed potato (a little salt and cream stirred through the latter) and a glass of white wine.
Serves 3 or 4.
I just recollected that Tolkien tells (in The Lord of the Rings, Book Four, Chapter IV: "Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit") how hobbits on the lam fix coneys: catch and dress two small rabbits, and simmer them in water scented with foraged bay-leaves, thyme and sage over an open fire. Sam remarks that he would would want stock, onions, turnips, carrots and famously potatoes – the latter a trifle anachronistic for Middle Earth, one might think, but then the Númenóreans of old were famous navigators – but made do with what he could scrounge, and what Gollum could catch. Now I think of it, I could have used home-grown sage and bay-leaves, but no matter.
(Of course, on Easter Sunday itself we all dined on roast lamb, and have partaken of rather too much chocolate all the days since.)