Rabbit with white wine and celery

Another rabbit recipe. I keep finding more, and I’m still working through them; who knew there were so many? This one was especially tasty, and I would make it again, no bother. It might be good with green olives as well. I served it with polenta, but mashed potatoes would be good as well. 


  • 1 wild rabbit, jointed
  • 30g butter, or a mixture of butter and lard
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes, or 250g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 300ml dry white wine
  • salt and pepper


  • In a large casserole dish or lidded saucepan, brown the rabbit pieces in the butter and lard. Remove from the pan and put to one side
  • In the butter and lard, brown the onion for five minutes, and then add the celery and garlic for another couple of minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, and simmer for five minutes
  • Return the rabbit to the pan, and pour over the white wine. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer
  • Reduce the heat and cook slowly for around 2 hours, or until the rabbit is nice and tender. If the sauce is looking a bit dry, add some more wine. 

Serve with polenta or mashed potatoes. 

Mushroom and leek orzotto

I have been in a fizz of pedantry. Why call a dish made with pearl barley a risotto. It isn’t a risotto, it is an orzotto, thanks to Wiki for sorting that one out. Risotto is made with rice. The italian for pearl barley is orzo (and hence why orzo pasta is so named as it has the same shape). And then – orzotto.

Now I have got over the nomenclature, I have made this delicious dish, using mushrooms from a mushroom kit and some leeks and thyme from the garden. 


  • 60g butter (2x30g)
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 250g mushrooms. cut into large pieces.
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme (or use rosemary)
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • 300g pearl barley
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1000ml stock (low salt if possible)
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone – optional
  • squeeze of lemon juice – optional


  • Lightly toast the barley in a large pan, be very careful not to burn. This step is optional, but adds a lovely toasted flavour to the final dish. 
  • In a large saucepan, melt half the butter, and add the leeks and garlic, frying until soft.
  • Add the mushrooms and herbs, and season with pepper. Continue to fry for another five minutes. Keep stirring, so nothing sticks. Don’t add salt until the end, because the stock and the parmesan will alter the saltiness. 
  • Add the rest of the butter, and then the toasted barley. Cook for a minute and then pour in the glass of wine, and cook for another three minutes, so the barley absorbs the wine. 
  • Add a ladleful of stock. I used beef stock, other stocks also work. I also added a tablespoonful of mushroom ketchup. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, and cook and stir until the broth is almost absorbed, before adding the next ladleful. Continue in this way, stirring and simmering gently, and adding the stock a bit at a time. Keep going until all of the stock is added. The barley should be tender to the bite, and you may need to add another little bit of boiling water or stock until it is to your liking. 
  • When you are ready, add the grated parmesan, and taste to see if you need to add any salt. You can also add the optional mascarpone or a squeeze of lemon juice. Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving. 

Minestrone 1

I’ve marked it as number 1, because I know that there will be variants and I might post some more minestrone recipes. I’ve previously done a summer vegetable version as well. 

This is a more solid affair, this soup. As usual, after making the broth, you add the vegetables in the order in which they will cook, saving those with the shortest cooking time until the end. You can vary the vegetables in season, to include chopped beetroot, celeriac, fennel, peas, leeks, kohl rabi, or substitute rice or barley for the pasta. 


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 rashers of bacon or 100g pancetta, or more if you wish
  • 2 tsp marjoram or mixed herbs
  • a can of chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml red wine
  • 1 can of haricot beans, drained. 
  • 1.7 litres of boiling water or stock
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 small potatoes, such as charlottes, peeled and diced
  • About the same volume of turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • half a small cabbage, shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • 50g small pasta
  • Parmesan cheese


  • Heat the olive oil in a very large soup pan, and cook the onions very slowly for 5 minutes so that they soften. Add in the chopped garlic and cook for another couple of minutes before adding the bacon and herbs. You can actually use just about any herb; thyme, basil, marjoram all work well. 
  • Once the bacon is cooked and the mixture is hot through, add the chopped tomatoes, red wine and haricot beans. Bring this to a simmer and then add the boiling water or stock. Bring to a simmer and cook very very slowly for the flavour to develop, and for the beans to be hot and cooked through. 
  • You can pause at this stage, and then finish the soup off when you are ready, about 45 minutes before serving, to ensure that all of the vegetables are perfect. 
  • Add the carrots, simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add the potatoes and turnip, simmer for 15 minutes
  • Add the celery, cabbage and pasta, season with salt and pepper, simmer for 10 minutes
  • Stir in 2 tbsp grated parmesan, and serve with more parmesan. 

Rabbit with green olives and wine (Ligurian rabbit cacciatore)

I saw this dish being served on Stanley Tucci’s fantastic series on Italian food. I’ve been trying to recreate it, and it is easy and delicious.

It is well worth watching both series of this program, the joy of good food shines through, from the program makers, the food producers to the presenters. The Ligurian program is the episode which inspired this recipe. 


  •  One wild rabbit, jointed into 6 pieces
  • 60ml olive oil
  •  3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Approx 40g stoned green olives
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, or a sprig of thyme (you could also use rosemary)
  • 200ml medium dry white wine, or 50/50 wine and chicken stock
  • salt and pepper


  • Put all of the ingredients except the olives, stock and seasoning into a plastic box with a lid, and marinade the rabbit overnight. 
  • The next day, put all of the ingredients including the olives, stock and seasoning, into a casserole dish.
  • Cook in the oven at 170C for an hour and a half, or until the rabbit is tender

I served this with grilled bulb fennel and a few small potatoes

Pork cooked in milk (Maiale al latte)

We tried this recipe from Elizabeth David. It is a little tricky, and needs watching at the end. But it was fabulous


  • About 900g pork, preferably loin or boned leg, without the rind
  • For each 450g of meat, allow 550ml of milk, 25g butter and 25g of pancetta
  • Salt and pepper
  • An onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram, basil or fennel


  • In a pan that fits the meat neatly, melt the butter and brown the onion in it: the onion should be well cooked.
  • Add the pancetta to the onion and fry until the fat is browned.
  • Stick a clove of garlic inside the rolled meat, along with the coriander seeds and herbs. Rub the pork with salt and pepper and then brown it off in the butter along with the onion and ham.
  • In the meantime, heat the milk to boiling in a separate pan. When the meat is browned and heated up, pour the boiling milk gently over the top. Do not add any more salt and pepper from here on in
  • Keep the pan simmering at a moderate pace on the stove top, uncovered. Gradually the milk will form a skin over the meat, and the milk may curdle to make a grainy broth. Do not disutrb this until it has been simmering for a good hour.
  • After an hour or so, break the skin round the meat and scrape the sides of the pan, and stir it all in. The sauce should be beginning to thicken and reduce down at this stage. Keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn or start to stick. The sauce will reduce down to a very thick, granular texture, full of bits of onion and ham, like a tasty ricotta. The meat will be encased in a fine crust formed from the milk.
  • to serve, pour the sauce over the meat, and then slice it. It is divine hot or cold

We served it with leeks, broccoli and potatoes.

Polpette, meatballs, or ….

Once again, I reached into the gastronomic lucky dip that is our freezer, that great storage zone for all things local and perishable. The day before yesterday I fished out a bag of locally produced beef mince. I used it to make polpette. This is probably not worth making with cheap mince, but they were great with what we had. I used the mixture to make polpette (small meat balls) the first night, and then formed the rest of the mixture into patties and had them as burgers in buns. The following recipe will serve six. I got it from ‘Italian Food’ by Elizabeth David.


  • 450g good quality organic local mince
  • 2 slices white bread
  • milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • nutmeg
  • a little lemon rind
  • plain flour
  • olive oil


  • Cut the crusts off the bread, and soak for fifteen minutes in milk
  • Squeeze the excess milk from the bread, which should be really mushy.
  • Add the garlic, parsley, tiny strips of a little bit of lemon peel, seasoning and spices and blend in a food processer. It is possible to do this by hand as well.
  • Add the bread mixture to the mince, and beat in the egg, until everything is well mixed
  • Next, flour a board and your hands. Form little slightly flat meat balls from the mixture, each just over an inch across, and coat with flour. Make a little dent in the top of each meat ball.Fry in hot oil. I think you can deep-fry these, but I just fried them in a pan. When they are done drain them on paper before serving.

I served these with pasta and tomato sauce. The book suggests serving them with a green salad. The next night, as I said, I made small burgers out of the mixture, possibly a culinary crime, but it was very tasty.

Braised Rabbit with pappardelle

I have a source of rabbit at the moment, so I am getting to try out a stash of rabbit recipes. We had this at the weekend and it was spectacular. 


  • Olive oil
  • 1 rabbit, jointed
  • 100g smoked pancetta
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary, strip off the leaves and chop
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • salt and pepper
  • 150ml white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 5 portions of pasta e.g. pappardelle, tagliatelle
  • 1 tsp bitter marmalade
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 100ml double cream
  • a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • grated parmesan


  • Heat the oil in a casserole dish, and brown the rabbit joints in stages, and set aside. 
  • In the same pan/oil fry the onion, bacon and carrot together over a low heat until soft. Add the garlic, rosemary and tomato puree and cook for another couple of minutes
  • Pour in the wine, stock and add the rabbit, with a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Cover and simmer for an hour and a half, until the rabbit is tender and coming off the bone. You may need to simmer for longer, depending on how tender the rabbit is. 
  • Remove the rabbit from the pan, and let it cool. Shred the meat from the bone. 
  • Meanwhile, keep the heat under the pan to reduce the sauce for five minutes or so. 
  • Put the pasta water on to boil, and start cooking the pasta according to the instructions. 
  • Add the meat back into the sauce along with the mustard, cream, parsley and marmalade, and stir to heat through and mix. Check the seasoning. 
  • When the pasta is done, add it to the sauce, stir to mix and serve with grated parmesan. 

A note on quantities of pasta. For a very hungry busy person, allow up to 100g. We usually find that 50g of pasta is plenty for one person. 

Sausage risotto

This is a favourite. It is probably not that authentic, but it is very tasty. As usual, the technique is to make a delicious stew, and then add the rice and stock to make the risotto. I allow around 60g rice per person, and 3x as much water as rice. 


  • 50g butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 sausages, chopped into chunks – around 200g
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • salt and pepper
  • 20g porcini mushrooms
  • approx 750ml hot chicken or beef stock
  • salt and pepper
  • around 50g grated parmesan


  • Melt half of the butter in a pan, and gently fry the onion and sausage until the sausage is cooked. 
  • Meanwhile, soak the porcini mushrooms in half a cup of hot water.
  • When the sausage is cooked, remove the soaked mushrooms from the water, chop them finely and add them to the pan, with the tomato puree and the mushroom water, to make a simple stew. Simmer for around 15 minutes. Keep an eye and add a little stock if the mixture is beginning to stick. 
  • Add all of the rice, stir to coat in the stew, and then cook gently. Add the stock one ladleful at the time, adding more stock only when the last bit has been absorbed. After 20 minutes, all the stock will be in and the rice will be cooked. 
  • Take the pan off the heat, and stir in the rest of the butter and half the parmesan cheese. Adjust the seasoning; I like a lot of pepper
  • Serve with more parmesan cheese on the side. 

I think the real version uses proper Italian sausages, but these are hard to come by locally. 

Rabbit risotto with olives

More rabbit recipes. This one is from Risotto Risotto by Valentina Harris. There are some risotto basics that crop up. Adding the ingredients one by one, and letting them cook together allows the flavours to build. Many of the meat risottos involve making a rich stew, and then adding the risotto rice and the stock, bit by bit. 

I allow around 60g risotto rice per serving, and multiply by 3 to get the volume of stock in ml. For example, for 100g rice, use 300ml stock. 


  • 1 rabbit, jointed and rinsed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g chopped pancetta or streaky bacon
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 glass red wine
  • around 20 small black olives, chopped. 
  • a pinch of dried oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 400g risotto rice
  • 1.2 litres of chicken or vegetable stock, simmering 


  • Fry the onion, celery, pancetta and parsley in the olive oil over a low heat, until the onion is soft
  • Add the rabbit and brown it all over. 
  • Mix the tomato puree and wine together, and stir it in, with the olives, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer over a low heat or cook in a low oven for an hour and a half, until the rabbit is really tender. Add stock to ensure that the stew does not stick or dry out. 
  • Let the stew cool, and strip the rabbit meat from the bones. Cut larger sections of meat into pieces the size of a walnut. Return to the stew and bring it back to a simmer
  • Add all of the rice, and stir to coat all the grains. Cook over a gentle heat, and add the stock a ladleful at a time, Make sure the rice absorbs the stock before adding the next ladleful.
  • After about 20 minutes the rice will be cooked. Remove the risotto from the heat, and let it stand for a couple of minutes before serving. 

Carrots with Marsala

I have some enormous carrots in the garden, and this was a delicious side-dish. It is great with lamb. 


  • about 500g carrots, peeled and chopped into large batons
  • 50g butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 150ml Marsala wine, (madeira or sherry might do instead)
  • Chopped parsley or a pinch of dried tarragon


  • Melt the butter in a saute pan, and when it is foaming, add the carrots. Mix well with the butter so that the flavour is taken up by the carrots. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • After a couple of minutes, add the Marsala, simmer for five minutes, and then add water so that the carrots are not quite covered. Bring back to a simmer, put the lid on the pan and cook the carrots until they are tender. 
  • Take of the lid, turn up the heat and reduce the liquid so that it becomes a syrupy sauce. 
  • Add the chopped parsley or tarragon, and serve.