Rabbit is gaining in popularity at the local markets as a sustainable source of lean and tender meat. The acidity of the tomatoes and the sweetness of the red pepper sauce will bring this light and delectable dish together.

Roasted rack and saddle of rabbit with wine to match

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 long saddle and rack of rabbit preferably with kidneys and liver (optional)
  • 4 baby artichokes
  • 1 tbsp pitted Kalamata olives
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • A handful of Rocket cress

To prepare the roast pepper sauce:

  • 1 Large Red pepper
  • 1 Salted anchovy
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water
  • A pinch of piment d’espelette (chilli powder)
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Place the pepper on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 45 mins until the skin is blackened. Remove from the oven and place into a plastic bag (this helps to remove the skin). When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin with your fingers. Then place all of the ingredients in a food processor including the roast pepper. Blitz until the red sauce is nice and smooth. Don’t forget to season.
  3. Fill a large bowl with cold water and the squeeze of a lemon (this will insure the artichoke hearts won’t oxidize whilst your prepping). To turn the artichokes, begin by pulling off the dark green leaves to expose the more tender, lighter ones within. Then, with a paring knife, slice through each leaf to cut off the top, turning the artichoke in your hand as you go. The final step is to remove the choke in the center of the heart with the help of a small spoon.
  4. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the artichokes for 5 minutes until tender. Strain off and sauté the vegetables in a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil over a high heat. As soon as the artichokes are a beautiful caramelized colour, remove from the pan.
  5. Slice down both sides of the back bone and debone the saddle. You should obtain 2 rectangular pieces of rabbit comprising of the loin and belly. You can also ask your butcher to French trim the rack for extra finesse.
  6. Place the saddle on a piece of cling film and season with salt and pepper. For those who appreciate offal; place the halved kidneys and chopped liver in the centre. Then roll the loins up tightly and tie a knot at each end to insure your ballotines are water tight.
  7. To ensure the rabbit is cooked properly and doesn’t have the cotton texture we all dislike, it’s best to poach the ballotines. Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil and immediately switch off; then poach the ballotines for 10 minutes. Remove from the water once the time has elapsed and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Then remove the cling film and lightly roast both cylinders in a medium sized frying pan together with the rack. Baste with butter for approximately for 3 minutes until golden.
  9. Remove the meat from the pan and leave to rest for a couple of minutes before slicing. In the same pan, gently sauté the the cherry tomatoes and halved olives.
  10. Delicately dress your plate with all the elements and scatter the peppery rocket all over.

About this recipe

Rabbit is gaining in popularity at the local markets as a sustainable source of lean and tender meat. My mother in law always used to accompany rabbit with Mediterranean ingredients full of beautiful bright colours. The acidity of the tomatoes and the sweetness of the red pepper sauce will bring this light and delectable dish together.

Wines to match with roasted rabbit with cherry tomatoes, baby artichokes and roast pepper puree

With a fairly mild flavoured meat, I suggest a pleasant clean and crisp rosé. The Côtes de Provence, Ste Victoire 2014 has the perfect blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. This cheap and cheerful rosé is the perfect accompaniment for this flavourful Mediterranean recipe.

For the same easy drinking, why not try a fruity Beaujolais. Served lightly chilled, the Beaujolais-Villages, Lantignié 2014 from Alexandre Burgaud will supplement the provincial flavours of the dish, without overpowering the delicate white meat.

For a more mature wine, I recommend a Villa Calcinaia, Chianti Classico Riserva 2011. This Tuscan red wine is bursting with notes of red fruit and brisk acidity. A Mediterranean match made in heaven, worth every penny.

The wines

Famille Negrel, Côtes de Provence Ste Victoire, rosé 2014

This is a lovely rosé, crisp and refreshing with wonderful herbaceous notes that works so nicely with the earthy flavors of this dish. The delicate dryness of the wine really complements the mildly bitter olives and sweet tomatoes. Fantastic value for money, you can’t really go wrong! RRP: £6.99 from Majestic Wines

Alexandre Burgaud, Lantignié, Beaujolais-Villages 2014

Pleasingly fruity and medium-bodied so as not to overpower the delicate rabbit, this is a wonderful wine that is easy to drink and matches the dish beautifully.  RRP: £10.95 from Berry Bros & Rudd

Villa Calcinaia, Chianti Classico Riserva 2011

Unctuous with deep berry flavours, this red is pure and oaky. Dry and supple, there are hints of toast and tobacco, which makes this ruby wine a wonderful partner to this rustic rabbit dish.  RRP:  £25.95 Berry Bros & Rudd