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This documentary was first broadcast on RTÉ Radio One, on Easter Monday 17 April 2006 at 2.02pm

Listen to the documentary.

Producer: Derek Mooney
Zoological consultant: Dr Richard Collins

A Mooney Goes Wild special about the rabbit - Oryctolagus cuniculus.

Rabbit recipes with …amonn ” CathŠin

Lapin aux Pruneaux/Rabbit with Agen Prunes

Preparation and cooking: 2 hours
Marinade overnight


1 rabbit of around 1,5kg
250g baby onions
250g of pruneaux d'agen or Agen prunes
100g of smoked bacon lardons
30g of butter
1 heaped tablespoon of flour
salt, pepper


1 bottle of red wine
1 glass of armagnac
2 carrots
2 large onions
1 bouquet garni

Have your butcher cut the rabbit into pieces and leave it to marinate in the wine, armagnac, bouquet garni and the carrots and onions sliced into rounds and finally the black peppercorns.

When ready to prepare the dish remove the rabbit from the marinade and wipe it thoroughly with kitchen roll.Gently fry the lardons and small onions in a wide-bottomed pot with the butter. Remove these after 5 mins and replace them with the pieces of rabbit. When they are browned all over, cover them with a sprinkling of flour and stir well. Salt and pepper well before covering them with the sieved marinade. Cover and leave to simmer for around 45 mins.

At this point return the lardons and onions to the rabbit and add the prunes. Leave for another 15 mins to simmer and serve as is or with buttered pasta, potatoes or rice.

Sauteed rabbit with crispy sage, pancetta and olives, lemon and butter sauce, poached spštzle

Saddle, fillet or noisettes of rabbit
Sage leaves
1 shallot diced
Green olives, pitted
Pancetta, cubed or diced
1 lemon
Glass of white wine
Olive oil
Sunflower oil
Salt and pepper

For the spštzle (or spaetzle)

2 eggs
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt

First, shallow-fry the sage leaves whole in some plain oil such as sunflower and leave to cool on some kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil.

To make the spaetzle, combine the flour and the salt, then add the eggs and milk together before pouring into the flour to form a batter.

Over a pot of boiling water, force the batter through a sieve or colander into a pot of boiling salted water and leave the formed spaetzle to cook for two or three minutes. Drain.

These can be served as is, seasoned and with a little butter or refried with some diced onions. They are very versatile.

Meanwhile, fry the pancetta and onion together in olive oil until it begins to brown and then add the rabbit; leave to cook for a few minutes until done (rabbit cooks quite quickly).

Chop the olives and add these too: season to taste, moisten with a little white wine and then remove the rabbit to one side and keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with white wine, then add the juice of half a lemon and swirl around with a few knobs of butter. Season this and leave over a low heat.

To assemble, pour a little of the sauce onto the plate, then spoon the rabbit mixture onto this. Heap some spaetzle to the side and garnish the lot with the crispy sage leaves and a further twist of black pepper.

Risotto of Rabbit with Guinness

1 packet aborio or carnaroli rice
1 onion
Olive oil
500ml chicken stock
1 young rabbit, jointed
250g oyster mushrooms or cepes or dried porcini
1 bottle of Guinness
1 bunch of parsley
Parmesan cheese
1 bunch of thyme
4 bay leaves

First, fry the rabbit joints in a little oil, browning them on all sides and leaving them to cook gently over a low heat while you prepare the risotto.

Dice the onion and fry it in a little olive oil with the bay leaves; do not allow to colour. Add the rice and fry this too for 2/3 minutes in the oil. After this time, add the stock, just a little at a time, waiting until each amount had been absorbed by the rice before adding any more.

While continuing to add the stock, tear the oyster mushrooms* and add these too as your tear, as well as the sprigs of thyme and then slowly the Guinness. Continue to stir and add stock only as necessary.

Then add the rabbit pieces to allow them to cook in the heat of the rice. After roughly 15 minutes, the rice should be almost cooked and should be wet and malleable but with every grain quite separate. Remove from the heat and add a generous knob of butter as well as plenty of finely-grated parmesan cheese to taste. This is where the 'creaminess' of risotto comes from -but never add cream. As the risotto will continue to cook in its own heat, serve as soon as the grains are perfectly al dente; as a final twist add the chopped parsley as well as a little more parmesan on top.

(*If using dried porcini mushrooms, soak these first and use the flavoured water in the risotto as well as the stock and Guinness).

© RTÉ 2011
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