Wild Rabbit Stew

Before you turn away in utter despair with the notion that I am cooking cute little furry bunnies, let me assure you of the difference between a wild rabbit (hare) and a bunny rabbit. A hare is nowhere near as cute and they are much bigger, faster and abundant than rabbits bred as pets (actually Bugs would have been a Hare judging by his large ears)...probably shouldn’t mention that. Also wild rabbits are a great deal tastier than farm raised ones and actually cheaper to buy.

I made this stew in honor of my dearly departed uncle Werner, who would go out with the boys on a weekend night chasing hares in the wild Australian bush. Normally a mellow sort of bloke, when face to face with a “wascally wabbit” he’d turn into Rambo without the ammunition, as he would catch them by hand.

Anyway, you could just pretend they’re chickens, the difference being the extraordinary rich taste and subtle gamey flavours.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, a large heavy bottomed pot with a lid will do, just set the temperature to low.

Wild Rabbit Stew

2 wild rabbits cut into pieces

salt & pepper

220 g/8 oz bacon - diced

6 cloves garlic - minced

1 cup onions – chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

2 cups chicken broth

4 cups good red wine

½ cup tomato puree

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 stick cinnamon

4 whole cloves

2 bay leaf

2 sprigs fresh thyme

8 whole baby carrots

1 large swede – cut into large chunks

2 cups pumpkin – cut into large chunks

1 cup frozen baby peas

Rub a generous amount of salt and pepper into the rabbit pieces. Set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet and fry the bacon, garlic and onion until the onion becomes translucent, then place into the slow cooker.

Heat the remaining oil in the skillet and sear the rabbit pieces for a couple of minutes on each side until browned. Place on top of the onion in the slow cooker.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix through with the meat and onion.

With the lid on cook for 8 hours (maximum 10 hours). Add the peas 15 minutes before the finishing time. Serve with mash.