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Winter Recipes Including Cotswold Rabbit and Skate Fricassee

By: Margaret Paxton - Updated: 26 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Winter Recipes Recipes Seasonal Rabbit

It is sometimes very difficult to find culinary inspiration when the days are so short and the evenings so dark; but if you fancy something different, these winter recipes could be just what you’re looking for.

Forget about the fluffy bunny image if you want to try your skills at cooking any sort of game! Rabbit has been on the British menu for centuries (since the 12th Century when rabbits were bred for their fur and meat) and makes a great alternative to chicken in many recipes.

Oven-ready, whole, boned or jointed rabbit is the easiest way to buy it from reputable butchers. Farmed rabbit is available all year round and UK bred rabbit must meet the strict criteria for human consumption. Grown in a welfare-friendly environment, British rabbit is tasty, tender and also very low in fat and cholesterol!

Cotswold Rabbit (Serves 4)

Preheat oven to 200C
  • 1 oven-ready whole young rabbit, jointed
  • 2 medium-sized onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 handful chopped fresh parsley
  • 25g plain flour
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 300mls milk
  • 300mls chicken stock
  • 15ml cornflour to thicken the sauce
  • Salt and pepper (or half a teaspoonful of dried mustard)

Blanch the rabbit joints in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes, then, plunge the rabbit into cold water. Pat the meat dry with absorbent kitchen paper or a clean cotton cloth.

Place the sieved flour, salt and pepper (or mustard) on a plate and roll the dried joints in this until they are evenly covered.

Gently fry the onions in butter until they are soft, then, add the chopped parsley. Transfer the rabbit joints, fried onions and parsley to an ovenproof dish (A fairly snug fit is best.)

Pour the milk and chicken stock over the meat-enough to cover it. Cook in the preheated oven for about one and a half hours, by which time the meat should be lovely and tender.

Fifteen minutes before serving, blend the cornflour with a little water to make a smooth paste and add this to the liquid in the dish. Stir well to thicken and pop back in the oven for 15 minutes or until the sauce looks thick and glossy.

Seasonal vegetables

to serve with this dish include:
  • Winter and White cabbages
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Parsnips
  • Kale
  • Sea Kale Beet (Chard)
  • Root vegetables, such as potatoes, turnips, Swedes, parsnips, leeks and carrots, can be bought locally at this time of year

Skate Fricassee (Serves 4)

Skate wings are delicious meaty and perfect for this seasonal meal suggestion. Although available at other times, this fish is at its best between October and April.

  • 1.25kg skate wings
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 25-30g plain flour
  • 750mls water
  • 225ml single cream
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • Half a teaspoon of grated nutmeg

Place the skate wings, water, bouquet garni, nutmeg and a shake of sea salt in a pan. Cover and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes.

Remove the bouquet garni from the stock and transfer the fish to a hot plate. Now the meat will come away from the cartilage of the skate wings easily.

Keep the fish flesh warm and discard all the knobbly cartilage pieces. Melt the butter in another pan, add the flour to this and stir.When the roux of butter and flour is smooth, gradually add the water in which the fish was cooked to make a thick, but not stodgy, base for your sauce. Next, add the white wine and cream. Keep stirring as the sauce re-heats!

Simmer gently for 3-4 minutes then transfer the skate flesh to the sauce. Serve hot.

What’s in the Seasonal British Fruit Bowl in January and February? Apricots and English dessert apples, including: Cox’s Orange Pippin, Laxton’s Superb, Ellison’s Orange, Crispin and Spartan.

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