20 October 2013

Bunny Stew

Yesterday, I cooked a rabbit. I’d never cooked rabbit before, but had always liked it. The last time I had rabbit was in Soller in Mallorca, the famous "rabbit with onions", or to give it its Catalan name “conill amb ceba”. This is basically slowly stewed lumps of rabbit in an onion sauce with, of course, a hint of garlic. I love Spanish, and Catalan food for its sheer simplicity. With friends coming round for dinner, this was my chance to delight with simple Spanish food, and so I thought I’d have a go at conill amb ceba. The fact that one of our guests was half Greek and according to the interweb the Greeks love a bit of rabbit, and our other guest was half Catalan, there was a certain amount of risk in choosing this as the evening’s dish. Between them they could probably write a thesis on how to cook small furry animals. I decided to risk it, so off we popped to Mercadona.

Spookily enough, rabbit was on special at the meat counter. So when there was only one pack of pre-chopped rabbit to be found in the display fridge, and so not enough really to feed four, the smiley lady with blooded hands was keen to help bulk up my rabbit purchase with a fresh semi-hacked up bunny. I didn’t want that much more and so asked if I could have half. She grabbed a rabbit by the throat and dangled it in front of me. I said, no, I just want half, the bottom half, with no head please. She then told me, this was a half, at which point I realised the carcass she was holding up was indeed half a rabbit but cut lengthways. Once I'd recovered from my internal fainting and general squeamishnes, I asked if she could just cut the head off. No, was the answer as she chuckled a little and Mr Rabbit eyed me with the one eye. There was to be no decapitation in this shop today. We bought the beast and trundled off home.

Having scoured the web for recipes and having found hundreds of slightly different variations, I decided to cook the part that all the recipes seemed to have. The basic ingredients being rabbit, onion, garlic and wine. Simple. Although tempted to drink the wine before approaching the beheading, I didn't. I was brave (well, nearly sick actually - I don't mind eating it, but don't want to behead it - silly really, I know).

Everyone was right. It was incredibly easy to cook and was indeed very tasty and succulent, like most Spanish food. No fancy foody blah blah. No pretentions, just honest simple food. Even our Greek/Catalan couple agreed. So all were contented, apart from the rabbit.

Here's the recipe:

decapitate your rabbit (maybe you're meant to use this bit as well, I obviously didn't)
chop it up in to hunks

fry in olive oil until brown and remove from the pan


add 3 sliced onions and 6 garlic cloves (some chopped, some whole)



add a sprinkling of paprika (I used smoked paprika) and a bay leaf or two
fry until translucent


put rabbit back in pan cover with white wine and a dash of water


cover and cook for at least 3 hours on a very low heat

I added a couple of raisins and a pinch of cinnamon to give some extra sweetness
salt and pepper to taste

¡que aproveche!

 the finished dish

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