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Eat The Seasons - March recipe of the month

 

MT005-matt-tomkinson-montague david-griffen-1530-3354 smallOur country is teeming with wild rabbits. There are an estimated 38 million in the UK and their population grows by around 2 percent every year. That old maxim ‘breeding like rabbits’ is still apt, as from six months old the female rabbit, or doe, typically produces six different litters, each with five baby rabbits, all within one season. Half of her offspring will be females, who then, in turn, will breed within the same season. That’s a

 

lot of rabbits!

Wild rabbit is starting to have somewhat of a revival as a wholesome alternative to other meats. If you want to eat lean, white, flavoursome meat from a healthy, free-ranging animal, you need look no further than the humble rabbit.

Cannelloni of braised English rabbit with glazed spring vegetables and black pudding purée

This comforting dish of rabbit encased in fresh pasta is actually very simple to prepare, but does require some forward preparation, the day before cooking. You can buy French black pudding online, and go to your local butchers for the rabbit legs.

Ingredients

Rabbit

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1l of chicken stock
  • 25g of butter
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 handful of coarse sea salt
  • 2 rabbit legs
  • 1/2 bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 4 sheets of fresh cannelloni, cut into 5cm squares, cooked and cooled

Black pudding

  • salt
  • ground white pepper
  • 200g of French black pudding, preferably with apple
  • 40ml of fresh apple juice

Ham velouté

  • 1 tbsp of English mustard
  • 2 tbsp of white wine
  • 40ml of whole milk
  • 40ml of whipping cream
  • 1/2 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp of cured ham, finely chopped

Glazed vegetables

  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of peas, cooked
  • 1 tbsp of baby carrots, chopped and cooked
  • salt
  • 10g of butter
  • 1 tbsp of pea shoots
  • 1 tbsp of chopped chervil
  • 1 tbsp of rabbit stock
  • 1 tbsp of fresh broad beans, cooked

Method

  1. To prepare the rabbit legs, season the legs heavily with the salt and place in tight fitting bowl with the herbs and garlic. Cover loosely with cling film and place a heavy weight on top. Leave for 24 hours and then remove and wash the legs well in running water
  2. Bring the chicken stock up to a gentle simmer in a pan, and place the rabbit legs in so they are just covered. Cook for 2 hours or until tender. Allow to rest in the liquid off the heat for 1 hour and then remove
  3. Pick all of the meat from the bones and reduce the stock until strong tasting but not salty. Reheat the rabbit meat in a few tablespoons of the stock, then add the butter and emulsify. Check the seasoning and add the chives
  4. Place a mound of the mixture onto each of the fresh cannelloni sheets and roll up, making sure they are sealed tight. Keep warm until serving
  5. For the black pudding, remove any skin from the black pudding and blend with the apple juice until very smooth. Season with the salt and pepper and warm gently and keep to one side
  6. For the ham velouté, sweat the onion in a little olive oil until translucent, then add the ham and the wine. Boil for 5 minutes or until almost dry and add the cream, mustard and milk. Season and pass through a fine sieve, then keep warm
  7. For the glazed vegetables, reheat the vegetables in the rabbit stock and add the butter, sugar, seasoning and herbs. Gently stir, making sure all the vegetables are coated, and keep warm until serving
  8. To serve, place a large spoon of the black pudding purée on a warm serving plate, then top with a rabbit cannelloni. Heap some of the glazed vegetables on top, and spoon some of the ham velouté around. Serve immediately
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The Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu, New Forest, Hampshire. SO42 7ZL
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