Run rabbit run rabbit, run, run, run… It’s Rabbit Casserole

Be very afraid of the Wicklow Hunter’s Gun, gun, gun…

Wicklow Hunter

An image, supposedly of the Wicklow Hunter supplied to me recently.

Sorry Bunnies, when the Wicklow Hunter is out and about with his trusty .22, you can be sure that there’s going to be a date with destiny. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Dates! Their lovely sweetness could go nicely with the slightly dry, gamey flavour of rabbit. Let’s prepare a Date with Destiny and Wild Wicklow Rabbit Casserole.

Youngest daughter who made a bit of a fuss over eating ‘Bambi’ is away in Canada so this is my only opportunity to bring ‘Thumper’ into my cross-hairs (or is that cross hares). I will be in trouble when she gets home.

Rabbit Casserole

It took me 20 minutes to set up the shot. I took it and started chopping onions. Then I remembered the wine and the bacon…

There is a pretty long list of stuff to get the best out of wild rabbit. You could refer to the photograph but you will notice that I neglected to photo either the bacon or the wine. Here’s what you will need:

  • 2 wild Wicklow rabbits
  • 6 carrots
  • 3 onions
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 3 rashers of streaky bacon
  • half a litre of good chicken stock
  • 1 glass of good red wine
  • 12 to 15 dates
  • Flour for dredging
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Cooking oil

The Hunter may have no compunction about  shooting the rabbits. He did take pity on me and delivered the rabbits skinned and largely cleaned.

Rabbit for the chop

Don’t be squeamish. Where do you think meat comes from? Unlike spagetti, it does not grow on trees.

It just left me the job of chopping them into suitable pieces. Youngest daughter will not approve of this. Not one bit.

Rabbit

Sorry, the gratuitous bunny for the chop shot. I had to do it. I just had to…

It is pretty easy to prepare. There are numerous videos online covering the topic. There is a good one here.

Rabbit Casserole

This is what you might get if you buy it pre-packaged. It saves on gore. Less fun all the same.

Then I chopped the bacon and fried it in the pan (skillet). Then I chopped the onions.

Onions

The trio of onions, celery and carrots is a cornerstone of italian cooking. They have plenty of cornerstones.

Then I chopped the celery.

Celery chopped

I can see you vegetarians squirm at the picture of the poor celery hacked into little pieces.

Then I chopped the carrots and put all three into the casserole and sweated them off for 20 minutes or so. At this stage, I added the bacon, bay leaves and a bunch of thyme.

Rabbit Casserole

A fantastic base for any casserole. You gotta love these colours.

I let them sweat away while I browned the rabbit in seasoned flour.

Rabbit Casserole

A nice close up of the rabbit browning in the pan. Dusted in plenty of seasoned flour. This will help flavour and thicken the sauce.

I used the wine to deglaze the pan and added this and the stock to the casserole. I also added a half pint of water.  When I got this to the boil, I put it in the oven, covered and slow cooked it at 120C for four hours. At this stage, I added some chopped parsley and the dates and stirred.

Parsley being chopped

An action shot (too much action if you look at the flying parsley). I used the timer and sprinting around the island unit to get it.

The sauce was not quite thick enough, so I transferred to the hob and reduced for 15 minutes. The end result, served with simple steamed potatoes looked like this:

Rabbit Casserole

A little bit of extra thyme to decorate the plate did not go to waste.

We swilled a couple of glasses of a mid-bodied french red with the casserole. (Don’t judge us). We had to have something and this worked well.

Wine

No caption needed as you can read the label from here.

All that remains is for me to show one more shot of the casserole and to stand firm on my decision to chop the bunnies. I have a month or two before she comes home. Plenty of time to come up with a reasonable excuse for youngest daughter. Any suggestions gratefully received, please. Oh, please…

Rabbit Casserole

Note the dates. The second helpings had loads of vegetables and less meat. Yes, there were second helpings. Mmmm…

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Latest comments
  • Lovely stew and wine.

  • Lovely Conor, I have bunny on the menu this week as well. I’ll be cooking the rabbits (with the sound track to Watership Down playing in the background) with Tarragon, grainy mustard, and cream. However, after browning the bunny i will add a litre of wheat beer to the pot along with all the other ingredients. My daughter is away as well!

    • That sounds delicious. This was my first time cooking rabbit and I was pretty happy with it. She returns at Christmas so it might be my last for a while.

  • Looks delicious! You might consider telling your daughter that you had little choice, since Texas Jackrabbits aren’t available in your neck of the woods.

    • I don’t think she will be too impressed.

  • Sounds like a very tasty dish. I’ll have to use store bought as we don’t have wild rabbits in our area. Actually that is a good thing…nothing that nibbles my garden and I won’t have to do any chopping.

    • I admire the implication fo what you say Karen. If they were there, you would do the chopping. Right?

      • If they were present in my area and eating down my garden…I would smile while chopping.

  • Tell your daughter it attached your wife, a fight insued, but you finally came out on top, hacking it to pieces in a fit of primal rage… Or maybe not.
    Looks effing fantastic. I would eat that. Good to see you cook yer bunny in a nice low temp!

    • I think she would not believe me. She occasionally reads the blog too! Low and slow is best for bunnies.

  • PS. That should have been “attacked your wife”…

  • Honey, I was driving down the road, when all of a sudden out of no where, a rabbit ran out into the street. He was being chased by a hunter, who later identified himself as a Mr. Fudd. I had to swerve to avoid hitting Mr. Fudd, and inadvertently hit the rabbit. Then, I had to console Mr. Fudd as he indicated that his livelihood was over, and while he sat there on the curb, head in hands, sobbing uncontrollably, I snuck that wascally wabbit into the car to remove the object of Mr. Fudd’s pain from his vision. I had to get rid of the evidence as I heard from Mr. Fudd that this wabbit was owned by some huge company with the initials WB, so I had no choice, and now you know the story!

    • Brilliant Barb. I have a new name for the Wicklow Hunter. Elmer.

  • Yes say it was like the Killer ‘Rabbit of Caerbannog’ from Monty Python’s Holy Grail. That’ll do it. I’ve never been able to deal with rabbit since, as a child, we found my sisters’ brood of pet rabbits decapitated one fine morning. Apparently a fox had removed the heads of three rabbits and made off with them. Come to think of it, while I think of it, that doesn’t quite add up does it. Perhaps the parents were up to something…

  • Very witty and nice photos as usual! Did the dates work with the red wine? You’re right about carrots, celery and onions being the cornerstone of Italian stews. Do you have a durum wheat tree?
    My hare post is coming up soon.

  • Mmm, looks good. I had rabbit a couple of weeks ago and wondered whether you’ve got any suggestions for the liver that’s in the freezer? I was planning to just make paté but somehow it seems like it’s be a waste.

    • Rabbit livers would make excellent pate. I can’t think what else to do with them.

  • Is it really necessary for the success of the recipe to have a parley between the flour and the thyme? .. General lapine lore I suppose .. or will any topic suffice?

    • Woops ‘Parsley’. Fixed that now. Thanks for the parlé.

  • We have a plethora of bunnies on the island but I’ve not come across anyone taking them out. I think they are a little puny. I use to order frozen rabbit for my cafe, but it is a little expensive unless you are buying in bulk. But I do love rabbit and this one looks especially delicious. I need a few friends like you around.

  • Poor bunnies. So delicious. Great post!

  • Sounds wonderful! Rabbit is wonderful protein.You just have to get past the cuteness factor. I’ve done a couple of posts on rabbits (one on Easter, no less), Easter Bunny Rabbit in Sauce Piquant and Rabbit with Mustard Sauce on Polenta. I first ate rabbit when I was in my 20s living in Southern Louisiana and working in the oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico. The fresh marsh rabbits were the best with lots of meat. Nowadays, all I can find are store bought ones. Oh, well.

  • Ha ha – bunny is classified as vermin, the Wicklow Hunter is doing the farmers a big favour and you are doing him justice with your recipe 🙂

    • Vermin stew just doesn’t resonate with me.

  • Okay, I’ve never hunted rabbits, nor have I ever eaten rabbit casserole. But you’ve convinced me to try it. The eating of the casserole, not the hunting. I’ll leave that to more … adventurous fellas like you.

    • I should egg you on to try it!

      • Ha! Well done.

  • Hi Conor, you think you’ve got problems with your daughter…..mine is my husband, an absolute Dub, who never had any idea of how the food on his plate connected with the land until this culchie arrived in his life, full of the joys of it all. While I’ve led him along many paths of discovery, he still baulks at eating a ‘bunny wabbit’ , so he has chicken while the kids and I dive in. Great action in this post. I can hear the William Tell overture in the background!
    Catherine

    • Hi Catherine, where does he think the chicken comes form? I should have been playing WT.

  • Nice parsley flying shot, love all the furious action. Deelish dish! Makes me hungry. You’re a very good cook and I like what you make.

    • Get over here to make that film. We can feed you then! I was happy with the flying parsley!

  • This looks great! I love rabbit but it’s quite hard to get in most butchers. I guess myxomatosis put most Irish people off their traditional rabbit stews! Bring back the rabbits!!

    • Thanks be to goodness for the Wicklow Hunter. My supply is safe as long as he is around.

  • Your photos make me hungry and I have just only discovered your blog. I cannot imagine what will happen in few minutes more of surfing here 😉
    And rabbits belong to my favourite meat dishes together with guinea fowl (hen).
    Nice to be here, I mean in your blog and read it 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by Wioletta and thanks for the kind comments.
      Best,
      Conor

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