I don’t usually cook with rabbit and I’m not quite sure why. It’s cheap, sustainable, lean, and very nutritious – not to mention delicious when cooked with care. My Beer-braised Bunny + Pesto Pizza is a great way to introduce more rabbit into you weekly dinner menu. One bunny will yield more than enough meat for two large pizzas and maybe even some left-over to toss through tomorrow’s salad or piled onto of a slice of rye bread, topped with cheddar and grilled to make the most incredible grilled cheese you’ve ever had.
Spinach and almond pesto is smothered onto a homemade pizza base and topped with the braised rabbit. Dolloped with a few splodges of cottage cheese and cooked in the oven until the crust is golden and crisp. Before serving, baby radishes are scattered on top along with some herbs and a perfect fried egg. So simple, so bright, so healthy, and definitely better than anything that arrives in a greasy cardboard box.
For the rabbit:
¼ cup olive oil
1 rabbit, jointed
Plain flour, for dusting
6 small brown onions, peeled and cut into quarters
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tbsp dried thyme
330ml beer – I used White Rabbit dark ale
Pizza dough – see here for recipe
Semolina or cornmeal, for baking tray
1 cup spinach leaves
Small handful of almonds
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For pizza topping:
4 baby radishes, thinly sliced
Spring onion, chopped
Preheat oven to 140C
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, heat half of the olive oil. Dust the rabbit in flour, shake off excess, and pop into the pan. Cook, turning once for about 3-4 minutes, until golden. Cook the rabbit in batches if needed.
Remove rabbit pieces from the heat and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a heavy bottomed casserole dish, add the onion and cook until just tender. Add garlic and thyme, stir to combine.
Add the beer, bring to the simmer, then add water and rabbit and bring back to a simmer. Cover securely with a lid and place in the oven to cook gently until the rabbit is tender and falling off the bone – about 1¼ to 1½ hours.
Remove meat from the braising liquid and set aside. When cool enough to hand, shred the meat and discard any bones or sinew.
Simmer the braising liquid until reduced by half. Using a stick blender, or a normal blender, blend the reduced liquid until just smooth. Pour liquid back into casserole dish and add rabbit meat. Season to taste.
For the pesto, combine all ingredients in a blender or mortar and pestle and bash/process until well combined.
When you’re ready to make the pizza, increase oven temperature to 250C.
Dust a baking tray with a little semolina or cornmeal to make sure that the pizza dough doesn’t stick. Roll out the dough and place on the prepared tray.
Spread some of the pesto over the pizza base and top with rabbit and a few dollops of cottage cheese. Drizzle with a little olive oil and pop into the oven for 10-15 minutes, until crust is crisp and nicely coloured.
Remove from the oven and top with radish, chopped spring onion, some herbs and a fried egg.
Makes 2 large pizzas