2young farmed rabbits (about 1.5kg each, see note)50 gm(1/3 cup) plain flour100 gmunsalted butter, coarsely chopped1Spanish onion, finely diced3zucchini, halved lengthways, coarsely chopped50 ml eachdry vermouth and dry white wine such as riesling100 gmraw cashews20 gmdried wakame, soaked overnight in plenty of water200 mlchicken stock1piece of mace (see note)
Joint the hind legs and front legs (including shoulder) of rabbits with a boning knife. Remove kidneys and liver, if attached, and reserve. Trim belly flaps with kitchen scissors. Cut saddle through the bone into four sections with a heavy knife or sharp cleaver. Separate legs from thighs on the hind legs, then cut thighs in half along the bone (remove and discard bone). Refrigerate rabbit pieces until required.
Preheat oven to 160C. Combine flour and 1 tsp each sea salt and freshly ground white pepper in a plastic bag, then add rabbit pieces. Shake to coat pieces evenly, then remove pieces and shake off excess flour.
Heat a large casserole over medium heat, add half the butter, rabbit leg and shoulder pieces and turn occasionally until evenly browned (5-10 minutes), transfer to a plate, then add remaining butter, rabbit pieces and reserved kidneys and liver to pan and turn occasionally over low-medium heat until evenly browned (5-10 minutes). Make sure butter doesn’t scorch. Transfer to a warm plate. Add onion and zucchini to casserole and cook until lightly golden (4-8 minutes). Increase heat to medium-high and deglaze casserole with vermouth and wine until almost evaporated (2-4 minutes). Remove zucchini and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook cashews in a saucepan of lightly salted water over low heat until tender (25-30 minutes). Drain and set aside. Drain wakame and rinse well under cold running water. Squeeze dry, cut into thin strips, set aside. Add cashews, reserved wakame, stock and mace to casserole. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, skimming scum from surface. Add rabbit and stir to coat evenly. Season to taste, cover with a lid, transfer to oven and bake until rabbit is tender (40 minutes), adding zucchini in last 20 minutes of cooking. Serve with pilaf and chickpea pancakes to mop up juices.
Note You’ll need to order rabbit ahead from a specialist butcher. Mace is available from select delicatessens and herbies.com.au. If unavailable, substitute a pinch of nutmeg.
This recipe is from the September 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.