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How to Cook Wild Rabbit

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Our rabbits are generally sold jointed, ready for you to cook.

The RSPCA and other organisations have recently been making people aware of the inhumane treatment of some farmed rabbits, an increasingly common problem in the UK. Wild rabbits have a completely free-range lifestyle, more flavour and are in plentiful supply. Our rabbits come from North Yorkshire farms and estates where the population is carefully managed.

Bring chilled rabbit up to room temperature before cooking. Because it's so lean, rabbit is prone to drying out, so always rest before serving to retain the juices. As with all game, check the meat for lead shot before and after cooking.

Slow Cooking
The lean flesh of rabbit can result in dry, tough meat. Slow cooking is one of the best ways to get a good result – cooking at a low heat for a long time, submerged in a liquid, is great for bringing out the best in this delicate meat. As with all meat, its a good idea to brown the meat prior to slow cooking – this helps to caramelise the rabbit, which adds richness and colour.

All parts of the rabbit are suitable for slow cooking as their lifestyle means that practically every part of their bodies is well-used. This makes rabbit meat high in connective tissue, which can be tough if cooked quickly, but will break down when cooked slowly.

Rabbit can also be confit at a low temperature of around 150°C in oil or duck fat ensures that the meat stays succulent and doesn’t dry out.

Quick methods
Rabbit can also be cooked quickly, but ideally needs to be jointed first, as each cut requires a different cooking time. Cooking rabbit is similar to chicken, fry on a moderate heat for 20 minutes or so until the internal temperature reaches 71°C. Ideally, only quick-cook the lean, tender cuts of rabbit, such as the saddle or the loin - the other cuts are much more suited to pot roasting or braising.

How long rabbits are roasted for depends on the joint, but as there’s little fat on them the flesh doesn’t need cooking for long. Many recipes require a quick sear or pan-fry before a short roasting time in a hot oven. Because it is such a lean meat, roasting rabbit on the bone is preferable to keep it moist and to enhance the flavour. Always allow the meat to rest properly before serving to retain as many juices as possible.

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Flavours commonly paired with rabbit include garlic, rosemary, sage and prunes as well as other meats such as salty ham and pancetta. It can also be enlivened by a tangy mustard dressing, and suits cider and cream-based sauces very well. The richness of the chocolate works very well with the gamey meat.

Try side dishes of green vegetables such as spinach, petit pois, asparagus or braised lettuce.