To avoid breeding season, September to March is usually the best time to enjoy wild rabbit. More flavoursome than free-range chicken, rabbit is lean, healthy and economical and has seen a sharp rise in popularity in recent years. Wild rabbits are generally smaller than farmed rabbits which tend to be fattier and blander in taste. The famous stew is perfect for rabbit, making the most of its subtle, gamey flavour and texture as young rabbit can tend to dry out and older rabbits can be tough.
For dishes such as rabbit stew it is useful to cut it into several pieces before cooking. To roast whole, pre-heat the oven to 225°C/Gas Mark 7 and cover the rabbit in streaky bacon. Cook in the hot oven for about fifteen minutes before lowering the temperature to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and cooking for a further fifteen minutes.
Goes well with:
Traditional vegetables such as onions, carrot and parsnips (can be roasted nicely alongside the rabbit). Also bacon, lemons, fennel, brandy, red wine, rosemary, sage and thyme.