Rabbit lasagne

Allegra McEvedy celebrates this underused meat in a classic dish that is ideal for sharing with friends
By Allegra McEvedy
Rabbit lasagne
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 55 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 1.7 kg rabbit, jointed (ask your butcher)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, diced coarsely
  • 100 g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 300 ml white wine
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large aubergines, cut into 1 cm slices
  • 1 jar piquillo pepper, sliced
  • 60 g butter
  • 80 g flour
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes
  • 450 g lasagne sheets, not pre-cooked
  • 1 nugget of parmesan

To serve

  • dressed rocket
  • fresh herbs

Method

1. Separate the meat into three groups: the four legs (to be slow cooked), the loins and the flappy bit of skinny meat attached to them (to cook later), and the bones (ribcage and backbone, both roughly chopped into 2 or 3 pieces). Any excess bits of fat can be pulled off and discarded, and if the rabbit comes with liver and kidneys set them aside for later too.

2. Heat some oil in a wide pan and brown the rabbit bones, remove and set aside.

3. In the same pan over a high flame, season the legs with salt and pepper, and lower them into the hot oil. Brown well on both sides, then take out of the oil and set aside.

4. Add a generous glug of olive oil into the pan and add the onions. Fry for 1-2 minutes until they begin to colour.

5. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the smoked paprika, garlic, oregano and bay leaves and cook for a few more minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3minutes.

6. Put all the browned meat and bones back into the pan, along with any juices, and push down the contents of the pan to compress.

7. Pour in the wine and let it reduce for a few minutes before adding the stock. Once the stock is added, bring back to the boil and simmer with a lid for an hour.

8. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Use 2 baking or roasting trays big enough to hold all the aubergine slices and cover the bottoms with the olive oil. Heat the trays for a few minutes in the oven.

9. Lay the aubergine slices in the oiled trays, salt them lightly, then turn them and salt again.

10. Bake the aubergines in the oven for 15 minutes, turning half way through. When cooked they should be golden brown on both sides. Once they come out turn the oven down to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

11. When the rabbit has been cooking for an hour, lift the legs out of the pan and put them aside to cool. Leave the bones in the pan and turn up the heat to boil for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off, lift out the bones and discard.

12. Strain the remaining onion and mushroom mixture into a jug (you should have around 800ml-1litre of liquid). This will be your stock to make the sauce for the lasagne. Keep the onions and mushrooms aside.

13. Give the pan a quick wipe before putting it back on a low heat and melting the butter in it. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute to make a roux, then start adding the rabbit stock in ladlefuls, whisking after each addition until smooth.

14. When youve made about three additions of the stock you can pour the rest of the liquid in. Bring quickly to a boil, whisking all the time, then turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly. Stir in the cream, season and mix the onions and mushrooms back in.

15. Pick the meat off the rabbit legs and mix with the chopped tomatoes.

16. Slice the raw rabbit loins into pieces of about 1 to 2 cm thick (you can add the roughly chopped liver and kidneys to them if you want).

17. To build the lasagne, ladle about a third of the creamy sauce into the bottom of a dish (use a dish that is about 30 cm square by 6 cm deep). Spread the sauce around and then cover it with a layer of lasagne.

18. Spoon on and spread out all of the rabbit leg and tomato sauce, and top with another layer of lasagne. Next comes another third of the creamy sauce. This time, nestle all the aubergines in it.

19. Cover with a third layer of lasagne and scatter with the sliced peppers along with the raw pieces of loin and innards, which will need seasoning.

20. Finish with the remaining lasagne layer and top with the last of the creamy sauce and some grated parmesan.

21. Cook at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 according to the instructions on the lasagne packet (usually about 30 - 40 minutes) until the top is golden.

22. Serve with the fresh herbs and dressed rocket leaves.


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