The Caterer

Recipe: rabbit, birch tea, by Frances Atkins

03 October 2019
Recipe: rabbit, birch tea, by Frances Atkins

Wild rabbit is an economical and incredibly versatile ingredient with a highly sought after, rich but delicate flavour. The woody and leaf flavours of the birch are compatible with its environment, while the sweet potato and celeriac enhance the rustic nature of this dish.

Serves 4

1 whole large rabbit

Confit oil

½ onion, peeled and finely diced

10g celery, chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

5g lemon thyme

1 sprig tarragon

480ml vegetable oil

100ml olive oil

6 juniper berries

5g fresh ginger

Crispy sweet potato and celeriac

5g mustard seeds

10g juniper berries

10 cardamom pods

2 star anise

35g demerara sugar

40g grey sea salt

1 sweet potato

½ celeriac

Melted butter


Front legs from the rabbit

1 cooked jacket potato, flesh removed and pushed through a sieve

1 pack kadaif pastry

20g butter

4g lovage, chopped

2g salt

Rabbit loin and back legs

Loin and back legs from the rabbit

15g birch smoking chips

Birch tea

Carcass from the rabbit (no head)

½ onion, peeled and finely diced

15g lemon thyme

5g ceps

2 sprigs lovage

30ml birch wine

30ml birch water

10g birch syrup

20g butter

Crispy rabbit belly

Belly from the rabbit

20g confit oil

To finish

Handful of nettle leaves

Handful of wild garlic or micro herbs

For the rabbit, break it down first: remove the thighs, front and back legs, head, belly and loin, saving the carcass for the stock.

For the confit oil, warm all of the ingredients in a saucepan, adding the front and back legs and belly of the rabbit. Confit over a low heat for an hour or until the meat is tender, making sure all parts of the meat are covered in the oil.

Remove from the heat and leave the legs and belly to cool in the oil.

For the crispy sweet potato and celeriac, place the mustard seeds, juniper, cardamom, star anise, sugar and salt into a pan with 650ml of water, bring to the boil, then cool and strain through a sieve. Shave the sweet potato and celeriac thinly on a mandoline and add to the brine for five minutes.

Drain and dehydrate on a tray by leaving in a warm, dry place for approximately four hours. Brush with melted butter and bake at 200°C for three minutes. For the croquettes, remove the rabbit meat from the confit oil, reserving the oil. Remove and shred the meat from the front legs and weigh it. Using an equal amount of mashed potato to leg meat, mix and shape into four balls with the lovage and salt.

Wrap in kadaif pastry, and then coat in melted butter. Bake at 200°C for seven minutes.

For the rabbit loin and back legs, place the loin and back legs onto a stovetop smoker rack and, using the smoking chips, smoke and cover on moderate heat for 12 minutes.

For the birch tea, place the carcass, onion, thyme and ceps in a medium-sized pan with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 90 minutes, skimming the stock when necessary. Pass the stock through a sieve and reduce by threequarters, skimming as it reduces.

Add the lovage, birch wine and birch water, finishing with the birch syrup and butter.

For the crispy rabbit belly, finely slice the belly and pan-fry until crisp using the confit oil.

To serve, place the crispy sweet potato and celeriac shavings on the plate with the rabbit croquette, loin and leg. Pour over the birch tea and garnish with the rabbit belly, nettles and wild garlic or micro herbs.

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