Seasonal Recipe: Stuffed Rabbit Saddle
A perfect spring delicacy and a visual delight, this rabbit ballotine celebrates the three-cornered leeks that are growing wild along the country lanes and probably in your garden. The rabbit is stuffed with tasty spiced wild leek pork and served with more leeks, bright red pickled beetroot onions, crispy lardons and a tangy mayonnaise.
Ingredients for 4 people
1 Rabbit Saddle, de-boned by your butcher
6 x Three Cornered Leeks, pulled from the ground and washed
150g Lean Pork Mince
1 Egg, white only
2 Tablespoons Double Cream
½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
50g Frozen Pearl Onions, halved
1 Pickled Beetroot, chopped up
50g Smoked Lardons
3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
Dash of Lemon Vinegar
Ask your Butcher to skin and bone out the Rabbit. If you don’t fancy eating rabbit (although it is quite delicious!) the recipe will work equally well with a boned out chicken.
Roughly chop 2 of the wild leeks. Put these into a food processor together with the pork mince, egg white, cream and nutmeg.
Season well with salt & pepper; blitz together, then transfer the mixture to a wide nozzle-piping bag.
Lay a long piece of clingfilm out on the surface and lay the Rabbit out on top. Pipe 2cm wide lines of the pork stuffing along both loins. Now roll the rabbit with the stuffing inside.
Use the clingfilm to encase the ballotine into an even sausage shape. Then grip both ends of the clingfilm and roll the rabbit sausage along the surface – the ends will screw tight and squeeze out any air pockets.
Place the clingfilmed meat in a deep roasting tin, cover with water together with 2 more of the leeks and some salt and pepper. Place the tin on the hob and bring the liquid up to simmer. Transfer to a preheated oven (150°C) and poach for 45 minutes. When cooked, snip a small hole in one end of the clingfilm to drain out any liquid. Chill the rabbit ballotine in the fridge.
Prepare the other elements of the dish – in a small pan, bring the pearl onions, beetroot and a dash of water up to boil- allow to cool in the liquid, the colour is fantastic. Fry off some lardon until crispy then set aside on kitchen paper. Season the mayonnaise with lemon vinegar and extra black pepper, transfer to a small nozzle piping bag ready to finish the dish.
The Rabbit Saddle can be served cold or hot. To serve hot, remove the clingfilm, place in a roasting tin with some butter, and cook in a preheated oven (200°C) for 10 minutes.
Carve the Rabbit Ballotine into even slices and arrange in the centre of individual plates. Pipe a ring of mayonnaise around them and decorate with pieces of 3 cornered leeks, pickled onions, lardon and chervil.