Hop to it

Peter Walters, Keele University’s executive chef, serves up a delicious rabbit recipe to help put a spring in our step

Such comfort as do lusty young men feel

When well-apparelled April on the heel

Of limping Winter treads, even such delight

Among fresh fennel buds shall you this night

Inherit at my house.

William Shakespeare

 

I think Old Shakes’ is talking about spring in a roundabout way, with the lusty young men out looking for partners. Mind you, fennel buds to describe a young girl is one thing but they must

have had strange perfumes back then – aniseed, the flavour of retro sweets for the likes of Dennis the Menace and Billy Bunter – still, perhaps they became lusty young men.

Limping winter, well that’s exactly what it has been with all the rain of late. I wish it would all just dry up. Where’s this global warming theyve been promising us? Not even the winds of March could blow away the rain weve had but maybe, just maybe the seasons are out of sync and the April showers will trickle off because by my reckoning weve had enough April showers over the past three months to last the next 10 years.

Rabbit and crab is a curious combination because the flavours are subtle, but try this recipe taking
care to get the seasoning right and youre in for a feast. You wont be limping but springing…..its that time of year.

For the burgers

1 rabbit (not too small)
100g minced pork belly
1 onion
Dash of Worcestershire sauce 

For the fritters

100g white crabmeat
Pinch of curry powder
3 sprigs of dill
100g of plain flour
2 eggs
200g fresh breadcrumbs

For the loins

100g spinach leaves
Dijon mustard

For the sauce

Double cream
Noilly Prat
Butter, softened
1 shallot, peeled
1 star anise

Garnish

4 new potatoes (small)
2 baby carrots
50g peas

1 Remove all the meat from the rabbit carcass. Boil up the carcass with some roughly chopped vegetables for an hour to make a stock. Strain and reduce the stock for a further 30 minutes.

2 Reserve the loins and mince the rest of the rabbit and the skinned belly pork. Process the onion in food processor – not to a puree although finer than your knife would probably get it. Mix together the rabbit and pork mince with the onion and dill. Mix in salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Divide the mix in two and press flat to form burgers.

3 Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the burgers for 4–5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Meanwhile place the crabmeat in a bowl with chopped dill, curry powder, salt and pepper. Mix together with fresh breadcrumbs and roll into balls, dust with flour, dip in beaten egg and roll in breadcrumbs. Fry in oil until golden all over. Season the rabbit loins and fry in oil to seal them.

4 Lay out cling film and top with leaves of spinach and a smear of Dijon mustard. Lay the rabbit loins together down one edge and roll up tight. Steam for 12 minutes then remove and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

5 For the sauce, sauté the shallot and star anise and add Noilly Prat. Boil up and add the stock. Reduce the stock and add the cream. Re-boil and allow to reduce further before knocking in softened butter.

6 Arrange the burgers in the centres of the plates, top with the sliced rabbit loin and the crab fritter. Drizzle the sauce around and a little over, then garnish with the vegetables scattered around randomly. A glass of cider would be a nice accompaniment.

 

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