Sharon Reid

 

Spring is on the horizon – the days are feeling a smidgen longer. However, we are far from enjoying, mild spring weather -comfort food is still required for these chilly evenings, get your fix by visiting The Unruly Pig, a charming Pub set in the Suffolk countryside which offers hungry patrons a selection of dishes that present the best of British seasonal produce. If, you are unable to visit then try making the Unruly Pig’s comforting Sage & Thyme Stuffed Rabbit recipe served with Polenta  and Cauliflower.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Component Stuffed Rabbit Loin Baked Polenta Cauliflower Puree Roasted/Boiled Cauliflower Red Wine Sauce
  2 X boned rabbit saddle

400g Pork mince

25g sage

25g thyme

40g pancetta

1 shallot

50g butter

250g polenta

500ml milk

500mlveg/chicken stock

125g butter

125g parmesan

½ cauliflower

200g butter

150ml milk

150ml double cream

½ cauliflower

½ Romanesco cauliflower

100g butter

1 sprig thyme

Rabbit Bones

6 X shallots

1 whole garlic

350ml red wine

500ml veal stock

500ml chicken stock

6 sprigs thyme

 

Polenta

Method:

The Polenta benefits from being pressed for at least 8 hours, so where possible, make in advance.

Bring the milk, stock and butter to the boil with a tablespoon of salt and a generous 10 cracks of pepper.

Finely grate the parmesan and mix through the dry polenta.

Using a stiff whisk, shower the polenta and parmesan mix into the milk mix – beat well.

Switch to a strong wooden spoon and continue to beat over a low heat for 12-15 minutes – this may be hard work!

Check the seasoning then transfer to a baking tray lined with greaseproof. Place another sheet on top then weigh down with a large Tupperware box filled with water (or similar).

Chill for 8 hours before turning out and portioning into bars roughly measuring 12x4x2.5cm.

Rabbit

Method:

At The Unruly Pig we prep down whole rabbits and then mince a stuffing from the trim. At home, a tasty alternative would be to ask your butcher to bone it for you and then stuff it with pork mince that has been mixed with finely chopped sage, thyme, pancetta and shallots. They should be happy to do this but be sure to ask them to reserve and chop the bones for your red wine sauce!

Lightly butter a sheet of foil and then roll your rabbit loin up 3 times, twisting the ends to make something akin to a Christmas cracker.

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees.

Red wine sauce

Method:

Preheat a heavy based casserole dish over a medium heat then add a splash of oil.

Roast off your rabbit bones, stirring regularly for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Meanwhile, coarsely chop your shallots, mushrooms and garlic, then add these to the pan with the thyme and continue to roast for 5-7 minutes.

Pour in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to de-glaze.

Add the stocks, bring to the boil and skin off any scum that rises.

Turn to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours, skimming regularly.

Pass off the sauce, discarding the bones and then reduce to a glossy sauce.

Cauliflower

Method:

Prep your florets for roasting. Pare down the cauliflower into its stem then shave off either side where the cauliflower curves to leave approx. 7mm thick slices.

Pare the Romanesco cauliflower into small florets.

To make the puree, finely chop the cauliflower trim from cutting the florets. Take care not to use too much stem (no more than 25%) as this can result in a bitter puree.

Over a medium heat, sweat off the cauliflower with a good pinch of salt for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile heat up the milk and cream gently in another pan.

Once the cauliflower begins to soften, gradually add the milk and cream, adding in 3 stages over a further 3 minutes.

Transfer to a blender and blend thoroughly until smooth and glossy.

To cook and serve:

Place the Rabbit parcels in the oven for 12-15 minutes then rest for 6-7 minutes.

Dust the polenta with some dry polenta, then place it in an iron pan with a dash of oil along with the cauliflower florets.

Bake for 5 minutes in the oven before removing, turning over the polenta and cauliflower then adding a few knobs of butter and sprigs of thyme.

Transfer to a tray and keep warm.

Heat up the cauliflower puree and red wine sauce.

Remove the foil from the rabbit and carve into generous slices – finish with a tiny pinch of sea salt directly on the rabbit meat.

Arrange all ingredients on the plate as you see fit and enjoy!