Rabbit Fried with Onions

Rabbit was highly esteemed and frequently eaten by rich and poor until our own times when it has lost favour. From the Middle Ages until the eighteenth century, domestic rabbits (known as coneys) were kept in enclosed warrens and often taken with nets and fattened in hutches for a week or two before being killed for table. The poor man trapped all the wild rabbits he dared to take and the farmer, wishing to protect his crops, enjoyed the sport of shooting them.

This Dorset recipe is intended for coneys. Serve with creamed potato, green beans, peas or spinach.

Ingredients

  • lb ( kg) rabbit, jointed
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 cups (240 g) fresh fine white breadcrumbs, seasoned with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 stick (120 g) butter
  • 1 lb (½ kg) onions, cut into fine rings
  • 2 tablespoons (15 g) flour
  • cups (3 dl) well-seasoned stock (a stock cube will do) in which 3 strips of lemon rind and the rabbit liver have been simmered for 20 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons double cream

Method

Plunge the rabbit joints into boiling salted water and boil for 5 minutes. Remove, drain well and allow to get cold. When cold, dip each joint in the beaten egg and then in the breadcrumbs.

Using 2 frying-pans, heat the butter; it should be just sizzling but must not be allowed to darken. Fry the onions gently in one pan, turning and stirring from time to time so that they cook evenly. In the other pan fry the rabbit joints very gently for about 12 minutes, turning them until browned all over.

Spoon the onions on to a flat serving dish and keep hot. Lay the rabbit joints on the onions as they brown. Stir the flour into the juices in the onion pan, adding a little more butter if necessary. Pour in the strained stock, stirring well. Discard the liver or chop it up and add it to the sauce if liked. Finally, add the lemon juice and the cream. Stir again, check the seasoning and serve in a gravy boat.

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