Wild rabbit meat is low in fat and cholesterol and it will have been gorging on the very best vegetables. Spring is an ideal time to take advantage of the farmer’s revenge, when rabbit is cheap at the market.
Rabbit with Chorizo and Chickpeas recipe (serves 3 hungry people):
1 rabbit (jointed)
3 slices smoked streaky bacon (chopped)
1/2 chorizo picante ring (chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
6 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
1 large carrot (chopped)
1 red pepper (chopped)
4 medium tomatoes (grated)
250g dried chickpeas
1 pint game stock (chicken would make a good substitute)
a glass of red wine
a splash sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon pimentón de la vera dulce
1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la vera picante
a dessertspoon of tomato purée
a large squeeze anchovy paste
a pinch of crushed chilli
a few sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 heaped dessertspoons of plain flour
sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil for frying
Joint the rabbit, so that you have about 8 pieces. Season with a little salt and pepper, a couple of hours before cooking and take the meat out of the fridge to allow it to come to room temperature.
Lightly dredge the rabbit pieces in seasoned flour and brown in olive oil for a couple of minutes. Don’t crowd the cooking vessel – do the frying in several batches if necessary. When the meat has taken some colour, remove to a plate until later.
Fry the onion in the rabbit olive oil and when it goes translucent stir in the chorizo and bacon, with a pinch of crushed chilli.
Next slice 4 tomatoes in half and grate the cut side into the pan. You should be left with eight disks of tomato skin, which can be disposed of. Stir in the pimentón dulce and picante, followed by the tomato purée and anchovy paste.
Return the rabbit pieces to the pan and pour on a bit more stock to cover.
Cover and simmer gently on the hob or in the oven for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until the rabbit is tender to the fork. Check the seasoning and uncover for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Serve with crusty sourdough bread or toast spread with some roasted garlic. A robust red wine, such as Anciano Tempranillo Gran Reserva Valdepeñas, makes a great accompaniment to the rabbit and chorizo.
…and do raise your glass to Anthony Bourdain (1956 – 2018).