Roasted Wild Rabbit and Bacon with Lemon, Thyme and Parsley Stuffing

This is how I remember my mother cooking rabbit: roasted on a bed of onions covered with crisp bacon, and rows of savoury stuffing cooked alongside. I have added Madeira to the sauce, but you could use cider instead.

Serves 4

This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine (Guide to Poultry and Game Cookery).

Roasted Wild Rabbit and Bacon with Lemon, Thyme and Parsley Stuffing
 1 lb 4 oz (560 g) wild rabbit joints, or boneless rabbit, same weight
 12 rashers dry-cure streaky bacon, derinded and cut in half
 1 large onion, peeled and sliced finely into rings
 2 cloves garlic, crushed
 1 level tablespoon fresh chopped thyme, plus a few sprigs
 10 fresh sage leaves dipped in olive oil
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the stuffing:
 grated zest ½ small lemon
 ½ level tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
 1 level tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
 6 oz (175 g) pork sausagemeat
 1 heaped dessertspoon fresh white breadcrumbs
 ½ onion, finely chopped
 2 oz (50 g) Bramley apple, peeled and very finely chopped
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the sauce:
 5 fl oz (150 ml) Sercial (dry) Madeira (or dry cider)
 Preheat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C).
You will also need a shallow oven tray 10 x 14 inches (25.5 x 35 cm), lightly buttered.


First of all, spread the onion rings all over the baking tray in a single layer then scatter over the crushed garlic and thyme. Now season the rabbit joints and arrange them on the bed of onions.

After that, drape the bacon rashers over the rabbit pieces.

Next, make the stuffing by mixing all the ingredients together and forming the mixture into 12 small balls.

Place these among the rabbit joints then tuck in the thyme sprigs here and there. Place the baking tray in the oven on a high shelf and cook for 20 minutes.

Then top each piece of rabbit with a sage leaf dipped in olive oil. Roast for another 15-20 minutes or until the bacon and sage are crispy and the rabbit is cooked.

Now remove everything to a warmed serving dish, place the roasting tray over direct heat and add the Sercial Madeira to the juices.

Bring to a simmer and bubble for about 5 minutes until reduced by about a third.

Check the seasoning then pour the sauce over the rabbit and stuffing.

Serve with crisp roast potatoes and a green vegetable.

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