- 1 rabbit (1.5kg; you may need to order it ahead)
- 100 ml olive oil
- 3 each large onions, large carrots and celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic head, 3 cloves finely chopped, remainder coarsely chopped
- 250 ml dry white wine
- 4 litres chicken stock
- 1 tsp juniper berries, crushed
- 6 peppercorns
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 100 gm pearl barley
- 2 eggwhites, plus 1 extra, lightly whisked, for brushing
- 300 ml pouring cream
- ¼ cup French tarragon, finely chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped chives
- 24 cavolo nero leaves (about 2 bunches)
- 1Pull kidneys and liver from rabbit carcass then, using a sharp boning knife, debone rear legs, loins and fillets off saddle (don’t bother scraping meat off the thinner front legs – these can be poached in the stock and served separately alongside the broth). Reserve bones.
- 2Heat oil in a large wide saucepan, add rabbit bones, onion, carrot, celery and coarsely chopped garlic, and cook over high heat, stirring as needed, until golden (20-30 minutes). Deglaze pan with wine, then add chicken stock, juniper berries, peppercorns and bay leaf, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add front legs of rabbit and simmer until meat is completely tender (30-40 minutes), remove legs and keep warm. Continue simmering stock until flavoursome (1½ hours), then strain and keep warm.
- 3Meanwhile, dry-roast barley in a small saucepan over a medium heat until golden and nuttily fragrant (4-6 minutes). Add 500ml stock, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender and stock has been absorbed (45 minutes to 1 hour). Pour barley onto a wide plate to cool.
- 4Dice loin and fillet into 5mm pieces and set aside. Cut rear leg meat into rough 2cm chunks and process in a food processor until finely chopped, then add eggwhites and 1 tsp salt, and process to a purée. Transfer to a bowl, add cooked barley, finely chopped garlic, cream, tarragon, chives, orange rind and diced loin and fillet meat, season with freshly cracked black pepper, then beat well with a wooden spoon to incorporate. Test mix for seasoning by poaching a small teaspoonful of the mixture in simmering stock.
- 5Blanch cavolo nero in a saucepan of salted water (2-3 minutes), then refresh in cold water. Pat leaves dry with paper towels, then cut away central stalk so you are left with 2 pieces from each leaf. Brush each piece with eggwhite, then place a small tablespoonful of rabbit mixture on top and roll to enclose. Set aside on a tray in the refrigerator and repeat with remaining leaves and rabbit mixture.
- 6Bring remaining stock to a simmer over medium-high heat, season to taste, then add dumplings in batches and poach until cooked (2-3 minutes; scrape together the last of the mix for a tester and cut in half to check). Divide among warmed bowls. Strain broth again, ladle into bowls and serve, with the addition of the tender front legs for two favourite guests.
Drink Suggestion: 2013 Lethbridge Pinot Gris. Drink suggestion by Matt Hardy