Trio of English Rabbit with Brandy Soaked Apricots

Ingredients:
– 1 whole wild rabbit
– 100g  brandy soaked apricots
– 8 smoked bacon rashers
– 100g chicken breast diced
– salt & pepper
– 50ml double cream
– 10g chopped parsley
– 250ml duck fat
– puff pastry
– 1 carrot, peeled and washed
– 1 stick of celery, washed
– 6 bay leaves
– 4 peppercorns
– 3 sprigs of thyme
– 20g butter
– 20g flour
– 100ml dry cider
– 1 egg
– panko breadcrumbs
– 1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard

De-bone the rabbit, removing the front & back legs and loins from the saddle.

Confit the back legs with 3 bay leaves, 3 sprigs of thyme, 4 peppercorns and the duck fat in a slow oven at 130℃ for 4 hrs.

Create a stock using the carcass .bones and mirepoix of vegetables.adding the dry cider. Leave to reduce to one third, thicken if necessary. Pass the jus through a fine sieve and set aside.

Blend the diced chicken breast  with any rabbit trimmings until smooth. Slowly add the double cream and finish with chopped parsley and salt & pepper.

Placing  a sheet of cling film onto a work surface lay out the bacon rashers so they overlap each other slightly. Lay the two rabbit loins at the top of the bacon, fat end to thin end and vice versa, leaving a small gap in the middle. Pipe the  rabbit mousse into the middle of the loins and top with strips of brandy-soaked apricots. Roll into a ballotine and chill for 2 hours.

When chilled gently poach the ballotine for 45 mins.

Remove Confit rabbit legs from duck fat once chilled and gently flake the meat from the legs. Assemble ½ confit of rabbit meat into 2-3 inch ramekins, add enough jus just to cover and top with egg washed puff pastry and bake at 190-200℃ until golden brown.

Season the other half of the confit rabbit and roll into balls; the chilled duck fat should hold them together. Roll the balls in beaten egg and panko breadcrumbs then deep fry them for 3-4 minutes.

Remove cling film from ballotine and brown in a frying pan of foaming butter. Leaving to rest for 5 minutes.

Re-heat the remaining jus and stir in wholegrain mustard.

Serve with gratin dauphinois and carrot purée.