I found an interesting rabbit, anchovy and caper recipe attributed to Jennifer Paterson which seems to contain elements of contrasting origins. The first part, is somewhat like an uncooked jugged hare marinade and the final part with the anchovies and capers reminds me of a Catalan picada. I can find nothing else like it and therefore assume it unique. I have made a couple of small changes, but nothing much, since everything I’ve cooked previously, by either of the sadly missed, Two Fat Ladies, has been fantastic.
1 wild rabbit (jointed)
1 large onion (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 large carrot (chopped)
1 stick celery (chopped)
1 pint dry white wine
4 dessertspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon (the juice)
2 bay leaves
leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary, 10 black peppercorns, 6 juniper berries (ground with a mortar and pestle)
a dessertspoon chopped parsley
Mix up the vegetables and liquids for the marinade.
Joint the rabbit and submerge it in the liquid for at least 24 hours in the fridge.
Cooking the rabbit (serves 4):
the rabbit and marinade
a good splash of extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of ground chilli
3 dessertspoons seasoned plain flour
1/4 pint game stock (chicken will suffice)
Wipe the rabbit pieces dry and dust them with plain flour, seasoned with a little sea salt and cracked black pepper. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron casserole and brown the meat with a pinch of ground chilli – remove to a plate when done.
Pour the marinade into the cast iron casserole along with the stock.
Bring the liquid to a simmer.
Return the rabbit to the pot, put the lid on and cook in a preheated oven at 170ºC for about an hour. Pierce the rabbit with a sharp knife to check that it is tender. Don’t be tempted to add salt until the end – both the anchovies and capers contain significant amounts of sodium chloride.
When the rabbit is ready, remove about 1/4 pint of the liquid to a small saucepan.
Anchovy and Caper Picada:
1/4 pint rabbit cooking liquid
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
a small tin of anchovies (drained and finely chopped)
a jar of non-pareil capers (about 60g, drained and finely chopped)
Strictly speaking, this isn’t a genuine picada, because it doesn’t contain nuts or dry bread, but it functions very much like one, in that it thickens the sauce while adding a huge flavour boost.
Chop up the garlic, anchovies and capers. Warm the rabbit sauce in the saucepan and stir in the solid ingredients. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Stir the picada back into the rabbit casserole before serving. Check the seasoning, but I doubt you’ll need any salt.
Optionally, if your rabbit comes with blood (and the thought of it doesn’t make you squeamish), save it (refrigerated) in a bowl with a little red or white wine vinegar – this stops it coagulating. Stir the rabbit blood into the sauce for additional thickening just before serving. It is the traditional thing to do with coq au vin, hare and rabbit dishes.