with carrot purée, creamed spinach, glazed carrots & broad beans
Takes 1 1/2 hours
For the roulade
1 whole rabbit
1/2 stick of celery
1 lrg fatty pork sausage
2 tbsps creme fraiche
1 egg yolk
14 rashers of streaky bacon
Salt & pepper to season
For the sides
2 tbsps soft cheese
Splash of milk
1 handful of broad beans
3-4 purple carrots
2 tbsps local honey
Salt & pepper to season
200ml chicken stock
1 tbsp cornflour
Firstly de-bone the legs of the rabbit, removing any silver skin or connective tissue. Now remove the two sides of the saddle keeping them as intact as possible.
Put a small frying pan to a medium heat with a little oil. Coarsly chop then fry off the carrot, celery and shallots for around 5 minutes, then set aside to cool.
In a food processor add the sausage, removing the skin, leg meat of the rabbit, creme fraiche, egg yolk, lightly season and pulse in the processor making sure the mixture combines. When the vegetables have cooled for a few minutes add and process until it resembles a mousse.
To assemble, take some grease proof paper and lay on top 7 of the bacon rashers slightly overlapping with a few inches of excess paper all around. Now take another piece of grease proof and lay over the top. With a rolling pin flatten and spread out the bacon, merging the overlaps into one making them appear seamless.
Peel off the top sheet and lay the saddle, thin part facing inwards across the strips, 1” away from the edge and season. Spoon the mousse along the saddle roughly 1-1 1/2” thick. Now carefully roll the roulade, coaxing it over with the grease proof paper, tuck in tightly and and continue to roll over about 1/3 of the way around passed where the bacon meets. With a sharp knife slice the bacon and roll flush.
Transfer the roulade to a roll of cling film and wrap tightly until several layers are formed and the ends are securely held and sealed. This can be achieved by tucking the ends over on every turn. Do this again with a couple of layers in the other direction.
With some twine tie a butchers knot down the length of the roulade. You may need to look this up. It is similar to repeating the middle loop of a present tied with string. The spacing will need to be just over 1”apart and firmly held.
Repeat this with the remaining bacon, saddle and mousse to make your second roulade.
In a large pan put some water simmering and place the roulades in for 40 minutes. Then place in ice water for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile for the carrot purée, boil the carrots until tender, drain and process in a food processor with a splash of milk and a large pinch of nutmeg and season well. Adding more milk or nutmeg to your preference.
For the honey glazed purple carrots slice them diagonally and add to a pan on a medium heat adding 2 tbsps of honey and a good splash of water, cook them for 15 minutes adding water if drying up and stiring often.
For the sauce, remove the purple carrots and in the same pan add the chicken stock and sieve in the cornflour, reduce for a while and season well, you should get a light purple, sweet gravy.
Steam the broad beans and spinach separately and then to the spinach mix in the soft cheese.
Now back to the roulade, heat a large frying pan to a medium heat with a little oil. Remove the twine and cling film from the roulade carefully and sear all of the edges until evenly brown. Place on a chopping board and slice into discs roughly 3/4”. Assemble all the elements on warm plates and serve followed by a drizzle of the sauce.
This is by no means the most simple of recipes, but it is a bit of a show stopper when cooking for a dinner party. I would recommend if you were for such an occasion to have either a soup or a cold starter and a pre-made, chilled dessert so that you would actually be able to talk to your guests as well as feed them. The sides work well with this dish as reflect what rabbits may steel from vegetable gardens.
Mr McGregor’s garden!
The sausage meat and the bacon benefit the dish in a number of ways, besides just holding it together, the sausage meat lubricates the inside by the fat melting and the meat helps to firm it. If you can’t get purple carrots, it is not a problem, they taste exactly the same as the orange ones.