This rabbit dish from southern Spain may be a humble peasant meal but it is a family favourite that stands the test of time, says Jose Souto. Serves four to six.
This recipe really takes me back to my childhood. Like most youngsters, the first experience I had in the field was shooting rabbits with my uncles.
It is my version of a Spanish dish that my mother, aunties and uncles used to make – and still do make – in Spain.
This is simple one-pot cooking, with the addition of some chips – and who doesn’t like chips? It is the sort of thing that is perfect for when you get back late from a shoot day and you’re exhausted. There are many places in southern Spain where you will eat this peasants’ dish and I have yet to eat a bad one.
Two good-sized rabbits will give four to six good portions. Best served with a cold glass of Alberi não, a cold dry white wine from northern Spain.
Rabbit with garlic, thyme and white wine
- 2 rabbits, jointed, or 1kg diced rabbit
- 2 small heads of garlic
- 200ml virgin olive oil (you can use normal olive oil, but the virgin will give a better flavour)
- 1 bottle of dry white wine
- A good sprig of thyme
- 500ml chicken stock
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1.5kg potatoes
- 1.5lt olive oil
1. Joint the rabbits into two shoulders, two legs and the loin, cut in half. Break the garlic head into cloves and split the cloves by crushing them with the side of a large knife or hitting them once with a meat bat or mallet. Keep the skin on.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the garlic cloves and fry until they are golden brown. Remove the garlic and place to one side.
3. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper and seal off in the hot oil. When the rabbit is well sealed, remove the loin pieces and leave the legs and shoulders in the pan. These take longer to cook, so they need a head start on the loins.
4. Take the garlic, skins and all, and place back into the pan. Add the wine and sprig of thyme. Bring to the boil for two to three minutes, burning away the alcohol from the wine.
5. Now add the stock so that it covers the rabbit well, as you still have the loins to add. Let it come to the boil again and then turn down to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and allow the rabbit to cook.
6. After an hour-and-a-half of cooking, add the loins. Leave the lid on but pull it to one side, allowing some steam to escape. Peel the potatoes and cut into thin chips.
7. Heat oil in the fryer to 140°C and blanch the chips until they are cooked but do not have any colour. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Heat the oil to 180°C and finish cooking the chips.
8. Once the rabbit is cooked and is tender, remove it carefully. Cover it and allow the wine liquid to reduce into a milky sauce that should coat the back of a spoon. Pass the sauce through a strainer to remove the garlic skin and discard.
9. Add the chopped parsley to the sauce and then spoon the sauce over the rabbit to coat it. Serve with the chips.