Mushroom stuffed rabbit loin, braised leg pastilla and baby veg or Hoppy Easter: who framed Peter Rabbit 

I may not have posted here for 6 months, but this is just proof that for any true show off flattery works wonders. So here I am writing up the recipe for my Easter Sunday rabbit dish on the request of my aunt. Does it sound a little sadistic to say the easter bunny was the main inspiration behind this dish? In my defence it is cheap, cheerful and goddamn delicious. Just don’t tell Peter rabbit. 
Serves 6 (with plenty of pastilla for Easter Monday hangover/sugar overdose fix) 
For the loin

2 boned rabbit loins, reserved bones

16 slices pancetta

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

100g assorted wild mushrooms, reserve a few for garnish

100g chestnut mushrooms 

Butter

Dried thyme

Dried sage 

Dried oregano 

Chopped parsley 

3tbsp medium sherry 
For the braised leg pastilla 

2 rabbit shoulders, 2 rabbit legs

2 onions diced

4 cloves garlic

2tsp capers 

2tsp caper brine 

3tbsp white wine vinegar 

1l stock 

Bouquet de garni

6 black peppercorns 

1 shallot, finely diced

1 garlic clove, crushed 

50g raisins

2tbsp sherry vinegar 

Fresh parsley 

1 packet filo pastry (you could make your own but lets be honest who has the time..) 

Butter 
For the jus

2 onions, roughly chopped 

Reserved bones

1 carrot, chopped 

100ml white wine

5 cloves garlic 

Bouquet garni 

2l stock 

6 peppercorns 
For garnish 

450g baby carrots 

450g baby leeks 

Reserved wild mushrooms 
For the jus 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC. Roast the reserved loon bones for 30mins. 

Meanwhile brown the chopped onion and carrots in a little oil until well coloured. Add the white wine and bubble for 1min. Remove to a large pan and add the remaining ingredients gradually simmer for 3-4hrs, topping up occasionally with cold water and skimming. 

For the pastilla 

  1. Meanwhile sear the rabbit legs and shoulders over a high heat until a little browned. Remove. Sweat the shallots with a large pinch of salt and garlic for 5-7mins. Add the capers, brine, vinegar and bubble for 1-2mins. Remove to a large saucepan and return legs, shoulders, stock, bouquet garni and peppercorns. Simmer for 2-3hours or until meat is soft and meltingly tender, topping up to keep legs covered. 

For the stuffed loin

  1. Roughly chop mushrooms. Sweat down the onions in the butter for 5mins. Add the sherry and cook for 2-3mins. Add garlic and mushrooms and a large pinch of salt. Add herbs and cook until mushrooms are soft and most of the water has evaporated. Blend and season to taste. Set aside to cool to room temperature. 
  2. Stretch out the pancetta on a sheet of cling film, overlapping. Place loin on top and fill centre with mushroom mix. Gently roll, bringing rabbit loin sections together and tightly wrapping with pancetta using cling film. Wrap tightly in foil to a thick log shape. Chill for at least 3hours, preferably overnight. 

For the pastilla

  1. When the rabbit is cooked, drain and reserve cooking liquor. Let the rabbit legs cool a little then pick the meat off the bone into small pieces. Sweat down the shallot in a little butter with a large pinch of salt, add garlic and cook for 2mins. Add to rabbit. Stir in raisins, sherry vinegar, chopped parsley and 100ml reserved liquor. 
  • Brush a 15cm x 22cm tin with melted butter, layer down 6 sheets of filo, brushing with butter between each layer so there is a wide margin around the sides of the tin. Fill with the rabbit mix, pour over 250-300ml of reserved cooking liquid and fold filo strips over the top to form a parcel. Layer over another 6-8sheets of filo, trimmed down to fit top of the tin. Place a sheet of grease proof on top and weigh down with another tin. Chill overnight. 

  • For the jus

    1. Drain the jus and reserve liquid. Reduce to a thin syrupy consistency. 

    For the final flourish

    1. Par boil the leeks and carrots for 5mins, drain and reserve. 

    2. Preheat the oven to 200oC. Using a sharp knife carve pastilla into squares. Place pastilla uncovered in the oven for 20mins. Turn heat down to 150oC, cook for a further 20mins, until filo is crispy on top.

    3. Brown the loins over a high heat until caramelised. Cook in the oven for 11-15mins. Leave to rest. 

    4. Cook veg in a little butter until beginning to brown. 

    5. Carve loin and serve with a square of pastilla, veg and jus. 

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