Rabbit is a delicious meat, hugely versatile, sustainable and local. Try wild Scottish rabbit and use the back legs and shoulders for braising, or cooking slowly in duck fat like a confit. The loins can be quickly sautéed and kept quite rare. Served with a few butter beans and a kick of preserved lemon and thyme, it’s lovely and simple, hot or cold. Don't be afraid to have a go at butchering your own rabbit, it’s good fun and you’ll be so chuffed if you get it right. I usually leave the hind legs on the bone during cooking as it seems to stay moist and juicy that way. And remember to add lots of parsley!
1 large organic unwaxed lemon
1 large cup of course salt
1 whole wild Scottish rabbit
250g duck fat
A few sprigs of thyme
A clove of garlic
200g butter beans, soaked overnight and cooked in water gently for 1.5 hours until just tender
A small handful of curly parsley, chopped
100ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil
A knob of butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
Good salt and pepper
To make preserved lemons simply make a cross cut 2/3 of the way down the lemon and fill with salt, put the remaining salt into a jar and submerge the lemon in this for a month turning every 2 to 3 days. After a month, remove from the salt and rinse. Scrape out the insides and discard - it’s the pith and the peel you want. Chop finely.
Heat the duck fat and with the thyme and garlic, then add the seasoned front and back legs of the rabbit. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, submerged in the fat, until tender. Don't overcook.
Add the chopped shallot to the rapeseed oil and gently cook on the hob on a low heat until the shallot is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the preserved lemon, and the butter beans.
Remove the cooked legs of rabbit from the duck fat and flake the meat into the bean mix and stir.
Heat the butter in a pan and fry the loins for 3 to 4 minutes being careful not to overcook. Slice and add to the bean mix.
Stir in the parsley and check the seasoning. Remember, the lemon is a little salty but a wonderful addition to this dish.
Serve in a bowl - not too hot - a bit like a warm salad.