Rabbit is one of those things I seldom cook with due to the fact I simply forget it as being a meat option. It’s basically fat-free and if you can get past the “rabbits are too cute to eat” idea it’s a delicious meat that’s very easy to cook up. I have no issues with eating cute bunnies as I basically grew up eating them. My father used to bring a few home after a hunting trip, even some live ones that, as kids, we played with knowing they’d end up on the dinner table sometime. Suburban free-range rabbits!
The slow-cooked dish I’ve created here is perfect in the cooler months but to be honest, it’s actually fine at any time of the year. Rabbit is a light meat and despite my heavier cooking method, this can still be a light meal. The filling would also be nice in a proper pie shell.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Brown the rabbit on all sides and set aside.
In the same pan sauté the onion until soft, add the garlic and cook a minute further. Add the carrot, celery, pork loin and paprika and sauté for another minute, stirring a few times.
Return the rabbit to the pan, add the bay leaf, wine, tomato paste and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and put the lid on, leaving it slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Cook for 2 hours, stirring very gently a few times.
When done, remove from the heat and carefully pick the meat from the bones when cool enough to handle. Be very careful here as there are some fine bones on those bunnies. Put the meat back into the cooking liquid, which should be nice and reduced.
Preheat the oven to 200°C while you assemble the pie.
You can either divide the meat mixture into individual ramekins or one large dish. Simply spoon the rabbit mixture into the dish(es) and top with the sliced potatoes. Drizzle over the olive oil and lightly scatter over some sea salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden. Serve immediately with bread and a salad.