* 2 wild rabbits, skinned and jointed
* 250g salted pork belly or pancetta, cut into chunky cubes
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 1 large onion, thickly sliced
* 3 large carrots, cut into 4cm lengths
* 4 celery sticks, cut into 4cm lengths
* 2 bay leaves
* A sprig of thyme (optional)
* 500ml dry cider
* 1 generous tsp honey
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method: How to make rabbit stew
1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Gently fry the pork belly until it is lightly browned and the fat runs. Transfer the pieces of meat to a casserole but leave the frying pan on the heat.
2. Now brown the rabbit joints in the same pan, in batches, transferring them to the casserole as they are done. Finally, sweat the onion in the same pan but do not allow it to colour. Transfer to the casserole when soft and translucent. Add the carrots, celery, bay leaves and thyme to the casserole.
3. Push everything around so it is fairly tightly packed, then pour over the cider. Add a little water if necessary to cover the meat. Add the honey and season with salt and pepper.
4. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, at a very low, tremulous simmer, for about 1¼ hours, until the rabbit is completely tender (older, tougher animals will take longer). You could cook it in a very low oven (120°c/Gas Mark ½), if you like – in which case, put a lid on the pot.
4. Serve with plenty of the juice ladled over, with mashed potatoes or small macaroni or risoni (rice-shaped pasta).
Hort had a nightmare about bunnies last night. I saw a little bunny trapped in a ditch and was trying to figure out how to get him out. Then the mommy bunny hopped over to me and started sniffing at me. I backed up, thinking it would bite me. But then it kept following me! Eventually I was backed into a corner with a large bunny sniffing at me!!