Roast Saddle of Rabbit, Boned and Stuffed with Herbs and Ricotta

Ingredients

  • 1 large rabbit, about 3 lb / 1.35 kg when skinned
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oz / 60 g bunch watercress
  • 4 oz / 110 g ricotta or sieved cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped herbs, such as chervil, basil or tarragon
  • 1 tsp Dijon or other good strong mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

Method

Ask the butcher to joint the rabbit, leaving the saddle whole. Use the legs for pâté or in a casserole. Bone the saddle by cutting with a sharp knife on each side of the backbone and scraping along and down over the ribs, easing the flesh off the bones. When you have finished, you should have two long fillets of lean meat, each with a thin flap. Season the meat lightly, and lay one piece next to the other, flaps overlapping. Remove any damaged or yellowing leaves and the coarsest stalks from the watercress. Wash, dry and finely chop it and mix it with the ricotta or cottage cheese, the herbs and mustard. Add the garlic. Spoon the mixture on to the overlapping flaps of rabbit meat and spread evenly. Slip four or five lengths of string under the meat, bring the two edges together, and tie together as a roll, making sure that the filling is not oozing out of the ends. Slip the meat inside a roasting bag, slit the bag in one or two places, secure it tightly closed, and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the centre of a preheated oven at 180°C / 350°F / Mark 4 for 30–35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes before slicing the rabbit into neat rounds and serving with any cooking juices and some vegetables.

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