I am very fond of jellied food for summer festivities, Jambon Persillé de Bourgogne being one of the classic ones. This receipt using rabbit is a variation on the theme. The essential ingredient is a first class, homemade jellied stock. Bought aspic just won’t do.
It is essential to have a good jellied stock for this dish. I collect bones in the freezer until I have sufficient to make a good quantity of stock. Boil them with an onion, 2 carrots, 1 celery stalk, 2 bayleaves and some crushed parsley stalks for an hour; season with salt, strain, cool and chill, then remove the solidified fat. If you want a really stiff jelly add a chopped pig’s trotter.
Bring enough stock to cover the rabbit pieces to the boil. Drop the rabbit into the stock with the carrots and the vermouth. Turn the heat down and poach the contents gently until tender, 30-45 minutes (wild rabbit takes longer than tame). Check for seasoning. Remove the rabbit and carrots with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, take the meat off the bone. Chill the stock enough to remove any fat from the top.
Cut the meat into goodly chunks, mix into the stock and add the carrots. Mix in the capers and a generous amount of herbs, finely chopped. Pour the lot into a charming mould (maybe one of those rabbit ones) and chill until set. If you are doubtful as to the stiffness of your stock you could add gelatine when the stock is still hot after the poaching.
Turn out on to a suitable dish and surround with the quail’s eggs or quartered hen’s eggs. Decorate with anchovy fillets and serve with a potato salad dressed with olive oil, Dijon mustard and lemon juice.
© 1996 Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright estate. All rights reserved.