Grilled rabbit with lentils cooked in red wine

Grilled rabbit with lentils cooked in red wine

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

I love rabbit, specifically farmed rabbit, which has a gentle, clean flavour – less gamey than wild rabbit – and doesn’t come riddled with shot. Here I’ve grilled the legs, which respond well to quick cooking, and served them on a bed of earthy lentils – cooked in red wine with lots of flavourings. These full-bodied lentils are equally good with simply roasted chicken or grilled wild salmon, or tossed warm through a lightly dressed rocket and goat’s cheese salad.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 farmed free-range rabbit legs, (ask your butcher for meaty back legs)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, to brush

Lentils in red wine

Quantity Ingredient
200g small umbrian or puy lentils
40ml olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3 celery sticks, trimmed and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 slices pancetta
small bunch lemon thyme, (or ordinary thyme)
3 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
450ml full-bodied red wine, such as Barolo or Barbaresco
knob butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Mustard and crème fraîche dressing

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
200ml creme fraiche

Method

  1. First cook the lentils. Wash them well, drain and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan, then add the onion, celery, carrots and pancetta. Cook gently over a low heat for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and sweet. Add the lentils, thyme, bay leaves and garlic and stir well to combine.
  2. Now pour in a third of the wine and turn up the heat slightly. Stir until the lentils have absorbed the wine, before adding another third (rather like making a risotto, but the wine is not added hot). When the second lot of wine is absorbed, add the rest. The lentils may still be a little hard once all the wine has been absorbed, in which case you’ll need to add some water.
  3. Continue cooking until the lentils are just tender to the bite – this may take as long as 40 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper and finish with the butter and chopped parsley. (You can prepare these lentils a few hours in advance.)
  4. For the dressing, combine the mustard and sherry vinegar in a bowl, then whisk in the crème fraîche until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. When ready to serve, preheat the grill to high. Season the rabbit legs generously all over with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil. Lay them on the grill rack and grill on one side for 4 minutes, then turn and cook for 4 minutes on the other side. Check that the rabbit is cooked through.
  6. To serve, spoon the lentils onto warm plates and lay a rabbit leg on each plate. Spoon over the mustard and crème fraîche dressing and serve at once.
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