Rabbit. Cute little fluffy pet? Or tasty bit of game?
When I was little, I use to have a white rabbit that lived in a hutch we kept in the shed at the back of the garden. I didn't really do much to look after it, my Dad did most of the work.
But, one Sunday afternoon, I came home from playing with friends only to be told that Snowy (as I imaginatively called him/her?), had ran away.
Then, many years later, I was taking a walk with my parents at the local woods. Dad's suddenly reminded of something, "Remember when we released your rabbit in the woods?" What?!
Apparently, he'd got fed up of looking after it for me (goodness knows why) and released my little Snowy into the darkness and hostility of the woods, surely to have been eaten by a fox or something.
I managed to make him feel so guilty for the next few weeks.
Anyway, that didn't stop me from trying rabbit.
Rabbit's available all year round, as I embarrassingly found out when I asked the butcher if it's in season (I felt I should've known this already). It has a taste a little stronger than a good free-range chicken.
In this recipe I've used scraps of pasta that are either broken or from the end of packet that doesn't make enough for a portion. The starch from the pasta helps to thicken the sauce, that's why I haven't used flour.
Rabbit and Thyme Stew
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 rabbit, jointed
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
Small handful of fresh thyme, chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Couple of handfuls of pasta bits
Preheat oven Gas mark 3
In an oven proof pan, gently heat the olive oil and sweat the onions and garlic until they're transparent and soft. Turn the heat up and add the rabbit pieces and allow them to brown slightly.
Add the tomatoes, thyme, red wine vinegar and enough water to cover everything. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours.
At this stage, I removed the rabbit pieces and shredded the meat from the bone, returning the meat to the pan.
Next, put the pan on the hob and bring to a simmer. Throw in the pasta and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.