by Tom Davidson

In the UK the rabbit has been shunned in favour of the chicken. It’s a very sad state of affairs that we don’t eat enough rabbit. The Romans kept rabbits in little pens called ‘leporaria’ attached to their houses. If they escaped they would surely have been devoured by wolves and wild boar.

Nowadays we still have leporaria in the gardens of many a family home, but there would be mass pupil strikes in schools across the country if families started eating their pets! Not that I am suggesting that of course. 

I think part of the issue is that linguistically we re-name the meat part of the cute animal. Cows become 'beef', pigs become 'pork', deer and 'venison'... you get the idea? Rabbits are still rabbits and so the 'cute fluffy bunny' element is still very apparent when it is dead and butchered.

With the right tools, this is a quick supper, its light enough to be eaten in Spring and hearty enough that you could have it in winter. A good all-rounder. The ideal gadget for this recipe is a multicooker/pressure cooker but you can slow cook in a cast iron pot too. (Though a pressure cooker will mean it’s ready in 40 mins. Otherwise, you’ll be slow cooking for 3hr+). Better sit in the garden and drink the rest of that cider! Both hares and rabbits have a long history of being roasted and used in pies. If you were inclined (and if you have asbestos hands) you could take meat off the bones in this recipe and make a delicious pie! 


2 Rabbits, de-jointed: shoulders, legs + backstraps

100ml cider

400ml stock

1 tablespoon Dijon

1 sprig of thyme

100g red split lentils



400g wild mushrooms

10g garlic

10g ghee

10ml vermouth

1 sprig of tarragon

20ml cream

Take the legs and the shoulders from the rabbit and season them with with salt and pepper then place into the pot.

Add to the pot: the cider, the stock (you can make one with the rabbit rack or use: vegetable / chicken), the thyme and the Dijon

Pop the lid on and pressure cook for 40 minutes, or slow cook for 3+ hours

Meanwhile, in another pan, fry the wild mushrooms (or oyster are perfect and can be grown at home easily too) in the garlic and ghee, once they have some colour add the vermouth, tarragon and then a dash of cream to taste. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Carefully remove the now very tender legs and shoulders and either take the bones out now or leave them on the bone depending how you feel – put to one side

 Add the split red lentils to the cooking liquid and turn up the heat, cook about 15mins until they are tender and have absorbed the liquid. 

Assemble the lentils, liquid, meat and mushrooms. This is great served with some freshly baked soda bread!

Peter's wine suggestion

I'm going to suggest my friend Peter Crawford's brilliant Traditional Method Cider - this is basically Apple Champagne and will work brilliantly with this dish.


Tom Davidson runs Wylie & Wood Bespoke Catering, specialising in both small and large events, corporate hospitality and intimate private dining.

Peter Wood