Easter Monday: Hot Cross Bunny
I have to admit I’m not sure whether this is completely apropos of the season, or an appalling thing to do. I discovered the recipe while leafing through Nigella Lawson’s Feast Cookbook looking at her Easter recipes. Scott’s always talked about wanting to cook rabbit, but I’ve never eaten it and wasn’t sure that I could, psychologically. Which is silly, I know – especially given rabbits are such a pest in this country. But it is hard to shake images of cute long lashed bunnies with fluffy fur.
I know I’m a complete hypocrite, because baby lambs and calves are equally cute. I guess I’m just more accustomed to separating the vision of the actual animal and the cut of meat I buy from the butcher, whereas rabbits, even skinned, are still very much recognisable for the animal they are.
This particular rabbit I bought already skinned and portioned – for a fairly outrageous $30-odd, which I’m sure would shock those Depression-era folk for whom rabbit became a staple when other meat was too expensive. I left the cooking to Scott though, and I will also confess that while I loved the actual red curry with rice, potatoes and peas, I was a bit apprehensive about sampling the meat no matter how unrecognisable.
I did try it and as Scott said, the old “tastes like chicken” scenario rang true. Although in this case I’d say it tasted like a fairly dry, bland chicken breast. I don’t think I’ll be eating rabbit again somehow. It seems that no matter how well disguised with spices and curry, I’m not really a bunny boiler.
For those of you who are braver than me, the recipe follows after the jump.
Hot Cross Bunny (Red Rabbit Curry)
Serves 4 (generously!)
- 250ml buttermilk
- 3 tbsp red thai curry paste
- 1 rabbit, skinned and portioned
- 2.5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, cut into fine half moons
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 x 400ml can coconut cream
- 500g new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
- 375g frozen peas
- few tbsp freshly chopped coriander for serving
- In a large dish, mix the buttermilk and red curry paste and then turn the rabbit pieces in the marinade.
- Cover with clingfilm and leave for two days in the fridge.
- When you’re going to cook the curry, remember to bring the rabbit to room temperature before starting. (Nigella also says that this dish tastes best if you are able to cook the curry in advance and reheat later to eat, because the greater the steeping time the better the flavour).
- Put the oil in a large saucepan and heat with the onion half moons. Cook slowly and thoroughly until they’re soft and beginning to colour, even catch in some places – about 10 minutes, maybe a little more.
- Stir in the turmeric and coriander, and having removed the rabbit pieces to a plate from the dish, scrape in every last bit of buttermilky marinade.
- Stir the pan well and add the stock, tamarind and coconut cream.
- Put the rabbit pieces in, and the halved new potatoes and bring to the boil.
- Turn down to a gentle simmer, partially cover and leave to cook for 1.5 hours – not quite enough time to watch Fatal Attraction, unless you fast forward through the sex scenes. (Although I suppose you could watch the film complete and just jump off to turn the stove off after 90 minutes).
- Leave to cool – either until dinner, or even better until he next day. Then you can reheat, and when the bunny is warm and about seven minutes from serving, add the peas.
- Provide bowls, spoons, good napkins and freshly chopped coriander for everyone to sprinkle over their dishes to eat.