Confit of Rabbit with beetroot wontons/pink pappadams with celeriac and parsnip mash, fried parsnip, and a rabbit paté with mustard cream sauce

confit of rabbit with beetroot wontons, rabbit liver pate, celeriac mash, parsnip, and a mustard cream sauce.

This is the main course for An Extremely Good Dinner Party

Let’s get the bits I didn’t like out of the way. Technically it’s not much harder to assemble than a double cheese burger and looks like it. Not happy with the bits hanging over the side, the mash is hard to see because the wontons are too large, what you can see looks too lumpy. The strips of parsnip could have been much crispier – temperature was too low. The chops also look a bit pale and more of a zap with the blowtorch could have helped. A little more consistency with the shapes of the pate would have been better too.

In the end that didn’t matter too much because within a few minutes it was in bits over the plate. There was a lot I liked about it. Firstly there was about three days of idle thinking about it in order to get a cohesive dish out of a number of factors hinging around a rabbit carcass. This is why there was an eep and, apologies in advance, when guest number five was going to be a vegetarian and a huzzah when they weren’t coming. There was also a good measure of serendipity in having stuff around like chicken stock and pasta dough. The other good thing was every last bit of rabbit that I had was used in some way. If I’d skinned it myself, I could have made an attractive hat.

Just to make things more logical in a Cooking For Engineers kind of way, I’ve done a flow-chart to simplify things [see also: Cassoulet de Castelnaudary flowchart]

rabbit confit map

Cutting up the Rabbit
Four is a difficult number for a rabbit as about 60% of the meat is in the hind-legs, which leaves an unbalanced serve if leeping it in pieces and two rabbits are to many. I decided to shred it. Stuffed was too wintery and boning it is too fiddly. To dismember a rabbit:
-remove the forelegs by cutting where you think the “shoulder” would be. There isn’t one.
-the rabbit has a kind of double backbone, so run your knife down either side of the middle. Then start trimming off the skin to get to the fillets, you should get four of them.
-dislocate the hind-legs and cut them off. You can shorten the excess bone at the end.
– for this I kept the rib cage intact and worked out double ribbed chops with a cleaver. You can french the ribs, which I believe is to work the meat off.

Marinate the legs and fillets overnight in EVOO, parsley, marjoram, thyme, salt and pepper. The rest gets saved for stock- including the kideys but not the liver, this becomes pate.

Confit of Rabbit
A confit is poaching meat in oil or fat. Originally the confit would have been preserved after being salted but these recipes are hard to find. More common are the unsalted recipes which will keep sealed in the fridge for a month. I was thinking a possible Christmas present but nah.

You’ll need:
1 onion (minced); 3 garlic cloves (minced); sprigs of thyme, marjoram, and rosemary; some sage leaves (chopped); two star anise; 10 peppercorns; white wine; 150ml of goose fat; and enough olive oil and vegetable oil to cover the rabbit.

Get a casserole dish or a dutch oven. Brown the rabbit pieces in goose fat, remove, sautee the onion and garlic and deglaze with a splash of white wine. Add the herbs and spices and place the rabbit pieces on top. I added a chopped stalk of celery form the celeriac as an aromatic. Cover with vegetable oil and olive oil and bring to a very slow simmer (i.e. a couple of lazy bubbles) and then place in a 150C oven.

The exact amount of time varies but mine took 40 minutes plus the time it took to cool. The goal is to get it cooked to the point where it will flake off and shred. Drain the oil and reserve and put the meat to one side and shred. Ideally you’d leave it to the last minute but I reheated it before serving in a little of the oil.

Mustard and Cream Sauce
Make a stock with the rabbit leftovers, bones and kidneys. Usual chopped carrots, onion, celery, parsley, peppercorns and white wine. Add a cup of chicken stock and cover with water. Simmer for a couple of hours. Strain. Refrigerate the stock and scrape the fat off the top when chilled. Reduce and season.

Add a heaped teaspoon of dijon mustard to the stock (adjust to taste) and then whisk in about half as much double cream. Allow to simmer for five minutes, stirring.

Rabbit Paté
Luckily the carcass included a bag with the liver in it. Trim the liver. Sautee half a chopped onion and a couple of chopped cloves of garlic in 50gm of butter and put aside. Sautee the livers until pink inside, add to the onions. Grind 6 cloves, 10 peppercorns, a teaspoon of ginger powder, and a teaspoon of szechaun pepper. Deglaze the frypan with a splash of tequila (no brandy) and then heat the spices though and add it to the liver and onions. Puree. Season to taste. I thought it was a little lacking so I added a splash of port which added a small amount of sweetness and filled in a few gaps.

Celeriac and Parsnip Mash
Boil one celeriac cut into pieces. The pieces should be the same size as the ends of the parsnips*. When soft, mash the celeriac and the parsnip and stir in about a cup in total of milk and butter. Season to taste.

*The remainder of the parsnips can be peeled into strips with a peeler and deep fried in the oil as a garnish.

Wontons
It’s not really a wonton but it also got the name pink pappadam which it isn’t either. All it is, is the other half of the beetroot pasta dough that I had sitting in the freezer, rolled out to a “7” and then cut into circles. The they’re deep fried individually in the oil and fat from the confit. I used a potato masher to hold them flat while frying.

Assembly
I think that might be all of the ingredients. The timing meant I cooked the confit before leaving and taking it in the pot to Andrea’s place, leaving it to sit. The wontons can be done and kept warm once the oil is drained and it’s best not to leave the mash sitting around. All a bit hard to keep them all together and hot and that’s why it’s handy to have a few trays to pop in the oven.

Make a ring with bits of paté. I diligently tried to shape them with two teaspoons but ran out of time so just shaped them with my fingers. Wonton in the middle, top with wash, another wonton, then the shredded rabbit meat, another wonton, then the parsnip strips, then the rabbit chop (just cook them in the oil), and top with a thyme flower (which happens to be happening in my garden). Pour the sauce along the ring of pate, take a piccy, and serve.

Eating
Very good, once the niceties of presentation had been smashed it was all scraping up bits of rabbit and mash, catching some crunchy wontons and a little bit of pate with the sauce. I couldn’t have been happier with it. A lot of work but mucho satisfaction in thinking about how it all came together.

Also
A rocket salad and spinach made with a vinaigrette of EVOO, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, and red horseradish (found it at Elmars).

Ahk that’s it. I’ll proof this later.

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16 comments

  1. Sue’s avatar

    Good Lord, very impressive. My eyes started to deglaze somewhere after deboning and confit.

    A 5 star rendition of bunny boiler.

  2. flygirl’s avatar

    man i am so impressed…fantastic anthony. can’t beleive you did this much in one night!

  3. Kate’s avatar

    Mein gott! Zis is a very imprezzive effort!

  4. Anthony’s avatar

    Hey cheers. It seemed a lot easier when I was actually doing it. I was more knackered by the end of this post. Poor people who have asked me how my weekend was and getting a fifteen minute blab on this.

  5. Reid’s avatar

    Hi Anthony,

    EEK! After the description of chopping up the rabbit, I don’t think I’ll ever eat one. Thanks also for the visual assembly guide. It’s much appreciated!

  6. Gracianne’s avatar

    Judging by the final result, the hat would have been pretty too! Thanks for the confit recipe, I tasted that once and loved it.

  7. The Daily Magnet’s avatar

    I love the presentation Anthony – it is supreme! Outdid the darlek number n evthing! I love a chef brazen enough to cook a bunny.

  8. The Daily Magnet’s avatar

    Where do you pick up your bunnies MTC?

  9. Anthony’s avatar

    Reid
    Actually rabbits are the most worrisome things to chop up as they look like a pet but once you overcome that – yum!
    No worries with the guide, was fun and makes sense to me kinda.

    Gracianne
    Thank you, I think it would have been a bice hat too and if they’d left the head, I could have made a belt buckle. Don’t thank me for the confit recipe, thank France.

    L
    Hey ta I was pretty happy with the effort, smaller it’d make a very nice entree. They’re a bit fiddly but worth the effort. I got the rabbit from Mondo Butchers in Inglewood but they’re $28 each – I know I know I couldn’t belive it. Might be out with the ute and the spotlight next time I’m up on the farm.

  10. Michael’s avatar

    Hmmmm confit. I’ve always wanted to make some but where to get goose fat? Now that youve suggested the obvious (use a little to fry the meat initially and then use another type of oil) I’ll be able to have a go. I’ve got a jam jar filled with duck fat from a roast from a few months ago. Here comes a weekend of lazily bubbling fat!!

    Thanks for sharing.

  11. Anthony’s avatar

    Michael

    You can use any oil, I saw a recipe with vegetable oil and olive oil works at this temperature too. I might have used all olive oil but as I had to get the smoke-point up for frying, I used a blend.

    I got mine from the Re store in Perth but any continental deli which stocks french goods should have it. Not cheap at about $12 for a 300ml jar but it keeps for 6 months in the fridge and it’s probably wise not to use too much. I’d love to know a cheaper source of it though. Great for finishing the roast spud in the oven.

    You’re welcome.

  12. The Daily Magnet’s avatar

    Ouch – I used to get them for about an eighth of that price down in Sth Freo/Hammy Hill. Alternatively you could always find out when the rally cars are testing and offer to be an official?

  13. Anthony’s avatar

    Yeah I kmow, I think it’s the abalone/lamb shanks phenomenon at work but to be fair, they’re a bit nicer than the ones we had on the farm and I wouldn’t have to pick out the shotgun shells.

    Mmmm pressed rabbit, good thinking.

  14. Rachael’s avatar

    I just caused quite a stir here at the Coffee Bean, audibly gasping and then smacking my lips (yikes) while reading your post. I am crazy for this idea. It sounds amazing! Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Anthony’s avatar

    Thanks Rachel, that’s really great to hear, it’s nice to add something to the the ideas already floating out there. Apologies for causing a hubbub at the coffee bean. : )

  16. Tonyday at earthlink.net’s avatar

    Hi Anthony,

    I just made a rabbit rillette flavoured with fois gras. Part 1 was “confit the legs’. So I used you recipe. It was delicous. Next time I will probably stop at the confit stage.

    I am now making the liver pate, sauce and tenderloins from the saddle.

    Thanks for a fine recipe.

    Tony

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