September 11, 2009

Rick Stein’s Rabbit Stifado

Rabbit Stifado


I knew I wanted to make a stew with the rabbit I bought from the Farmer’s Market in Epsom last Sunday, but as I’d never eaten or cooked it before I looked for some guidance. Even though I don’t like Rick Stein, I decided to have a flick through his Mediterranean Escapes book, which has been sitting unused on the bookcase since Steve’s Mum bought it last year. I spotted a recipe for Rabbit Stifado and thought it would be perfect because I had a packet of stifado herb and spice mixture that Steve’s sister brought me back from Halkidiki.

The herb mixture contained:
  • thyme
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • bay leaves
  • black peppercorns
  • allspice
So I just replaced all of the spices in Rick’s recipe with about a third of my packet and the flavour of the sauce tasted authentically Greek. But the rabbit itself was a huge disappointment. It was really tough and dry and lacked flavour. What a waste of a fiver! I was a bit dubious about the short cooking time of the recipe and I REALLY regretted not cooking this in my Tefal slow cooker! The sauce was also very watery, so I added some cornflour at the end to thicken.

I served the stew with rice and potatoes as that’s what was served to us in the restaurants we visited in Greece. I sautéed the potatoes with garlic and rosemary and they were the best part of the meal!

So now I have even more reasons to not like Rick Stein! Here’s Rick’s recipe if you want to make the mistake of making it!
  • Serves: 4
  • Cooking time: 55 minutes

  • 1 large rabbit, weighing about 1.5kg, jointed
  • 6 allspice berries
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 50ml red wine vinegar
  • 600ml red wine (I used Merlot Pinot Grigio)
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 5cm piece cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 50g currants (I left these out as I’ve never had stifado with them in!)
  • 15g butter
  • 450g small pickling onions or shallots*
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper

  1. Season all the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper.
  2. Grind the allspice berries and black peppercorns into a powder.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a flameproof casserole. Dust the rabbit in the flour and knock off but reserve the excess. Add half the rabbit pieces to the casserole and fry over a medium-high heat until nicely browned on both sides. Remove to a plate and repeat with the rest of the rabbit.
  4. Return all the rabbit to the pan with the garlic and the remaining flour and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Pour over the vinegar and leave it to bubble for a minute or two, then add the red wine, tomatoes, ground spices, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, currants, 1 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, part-cover and simmer for 55 minutes or until the rabbit is very tender and the sauce has reduced.
  6. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium-sized pan, add the pickling onions or shallots and the sugar and fry, shaking the pan now and then, until they are richly golden all over. Then add 2 Tablespoons water, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes until tender. Uncover, raise the heat and cook more rapidly for a minute or two, shaking the pan until the onions are covered in a shiny glaze. Season with a little salt and pepper and set aside.
  7. When the rabbit has had the required cooking time, stir in the caramelised onions and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

* I bought a packet of baby onions and to make it easier to peel them, I blanched them in boiling water for about 1 minute, so the skins came away more easily.


Anonymous said...

This is so funny!
I just made this recipe from Rick Stein's book - and have spent all this morning trying to fix it!
Having researched all the other books I have (including a rather nice simple little book called Greek Cookery bought in Greece), the recipe clearly has way too much red wine it, and yes, rabbit needs longer slower cooking to get really succulent. I don't mind it a bit chewy though!
So glad you agreed! Feeling rather anti- trying the rest of the book now!

Mandy said...

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience as well, but I'm glad it's the recipe's fault and not just me!

If you have a good rabbit recipe then please share as I would like to try again!

Mandy x

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