“Rabbit is lean, cheap, and delicious, but it’s such an overlooked meat in this country. I hope this amazing casserole – a favourite from Davina McCall’s childhood years in Paris – will make you think twice. The classic pomme purée recipe uses an insane amount of butter, so I’ve tweaked the quantities to deliver a similar creamy finish only using less of it. Pure indulgence, but what a joy! Bon appétit. ”
For the rabbit, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large deep pan. Add the lardons and fry until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Peel the shallots, then add to the pan with another tablespoon of olive oil and the mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes, or until lightly golden, then remove to a plate.
Season the rabbit with sea salt and black pepper, then dust with the flour. Drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil into the pan, add the rabbit and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, turning until golden all over – you may need to do this in batches.
Add the bay and thyme, then return the lardons, shallots and mushrooms to the pan with any juices. Pour in ¼ of the chicken stock and scrape up any flour from the bottom of the pan, stirring it into the liquid to get rid of any lumps. Stir in the remaining stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and leave to tick away for a further hour, or until the meat is falling away from the bone and the sauce has thickened.
For the pomme purée, peel and dice the potatoes into 4cm cubes. Cook in a large pan of salted boiling water for 12 minutes, then drain and leave to steam dry.
Heat the milk and cream in a small pan on a low-medium heat, until just below boiling point.
Use a spatula to push the potato through a sieve into a bowl, then mix with the butter, warmed milk mixture and a little seasoning, until combined and creamy. You can also do this with a potato ricer or French mouli, if you have one.
Trim the green beans and cook in a large pan of salted boiling water for 4-5 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the shallot, garlic and tarragon. Dollop the mustard into a serving bowl with 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Gradually drizzle in 80ml extra virgin olive oil, whisking continuously until you have a thick dressing. Add the shallots, garlic and tarragon, then whisk again. Have a taste and season to perfection.
Drain the beans and add to the dressing hot, tossing to coat.
Bring the rabbit, pomme purée and dressed beans to the table and let everyone help themselves to a bit of everything. Delicious!