Rabbit is a criminally overlooked meat. It's easy to cook, tastes fantastic, and costs only slightly more than a free-range chicken. The only real problem these days is finding a good butcher to supply it, but you're in luck because rabbit (and its cousin hare) are in season in March, so it's worth ringing around to find some this time of year.
Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes (so start cooking at 5:30 for dinner at 8!)
For this stewed rabbit you'll need:
1 rabbit, preferably cleaned, skinned, headless, and if you have a nice butcher (as Meat At Mandy's in Hornchurch, Essex was), he'll even cut it up into manageable pieces for you
3 small onions (or 2 large) several cloves garlic (ours came from a container of olives so they were pre-softened in the oil)
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 stock cubes
1 bottle cheap red wine (it's going to cook down to nothing anyway, so as long as it's drinkable, that's good enough)
While we were at the supermarket picking up a few extras, we were delighted to see not one, but TWO types of pear cider in stock. This called for a taste test of the highest order! (you may recognise Kopparberg as the one sold in IKEA's Swedish Shop)
There was a clear winner in St Helier: much bolder taste without the sugary fizz of the Kopparberg.
Finely slice your onions so they'll disintegrate while they cook.
If your garlic is not already immersed in olive oil, add some to a heavy bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid (Le Creuset or cast iron is a plus!) and sautee until soft.
Add in the onions, and sautee until carmelised and translucent.
Add in the rabbit and brown both sides for about 5 minutes.
Add in the bay leaves, stock cubes, cinnamon stick, and a dash of salt and pepper.
Pour in the entire bottle of red wine, and top up with water as necessary to cover the rabbit.
Now here's the easy bit: Cover and simmer for one hour and 15 minutes.
When the time's up, remove the rabbit pieces to a plate with a pair of tongs.
Remove the rabbit meat from the bones (we're doing this because rabbit has lots of tiny bones and if we'd let it cook until it fell apart in the pot, we'd have to gingerly pick our way through bones as we ate. This way, it's alllllll meat).
Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick and bring the cooking liquid back up to a rolling boil. Boil until only an inch or so of liquid remains in the bottom of the pan (for us, it was about 45 minutes but it may vary with the strength of your hob and the amount of water you added).
When the liquid is all but reduced, reintroduce the rabbit back into the pan and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
Serve! (Steamed carrots with dill and scalloped potato & apple optional, but very tasty).
The great thing about this dish is that it gets EVEN BETTER over the next few days and makes for lunches that will bring your co-workers to their knees by smell alone.