Great British Game Evening at The Lavender House


The delicious recipes from our wonderful LaSS Great British Game evening at the Lavender House

All recipes have kindly been provided with permission of The Lavender House and The Richard Hughes Cookery School

Tonno di Coniglio (Rabbit like Tuna) – Serves 10 as a starter

Rabbit cooked like tuna. This is the inland version of tuna in oil. It’s a dish that expresses the ingenuity of agricultural communities far from the sea, where fresh sea fish would have been unobtainable, and tinned tuna expensive.

Rabbit, on the other hand, was relatively inexpensive and readily available. The rabbit is poached until tender, taken off the bone, and then marinated in olive oil, garlic and sage. The meat takes on that particular firm, flaky texture of tuna, and absorbs the flavour of the herbs and garlic, too.

Ingredients:-

  • 1 Rabbit
  • 20-30 Sage Leaves
  • 20 Garlic Cloves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Litre Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Method:-

  1. Cut the rabbit into pieces, then put in a pan and cover with salted water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the meat is ready to fall off the bones, about 45 minutes or so.
  2. Drain, then pull the flesh off the bones while still warm.
  3. Place a layer of rabbit meat in an earthenware container, season, then top with a layer of sage leaves and garlic cloves. Repeat until all the meat is used up. You should have at least three layers of rabbit.
  4. Cover with oil, then put in the fridge and leave for at least a night, preferably two or three.
  5. Served on a bed of rice, another local ingredient; bitter chicory leaves make a very good accompaniment, too.

Venison & Liquorice Cobbler – Serves 4

Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 4/180°C

Ingredients:-

  • 600g Venison Haunch
  • 1 Dessert Spoon of Flour
  • 8 Shallots
  • 8 Prunes
  • 50ml Brandy
  • 100ml Port
  • 500ml Beef/Venison Stock
  • 1 Liquorice Root (optional)
  • 25g Sweet Soft Liquorice
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Sprig of Rosemary
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick

For the Scones:

  • 200g Self-Raising Flour
  • 50g Butter
  • 25g Smoked Norfolk Dapple
  • Pinch of Rosemary
  • 1 Egg
  • Pinch of Salt

Method:-

  1. Slice the venison across the grain into medallions.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, and dust in flour.
  3. Heat 1 tsp of oil and 25g butter in a heavy saucepan, and fry the shallots to colour.
  4. Add the venison and fry until golden brown.
  5. Add the brandy, tilting the pan over a flame to burn off the alcohol.
  6. Add the port. Add the herbs and liquorice root.
  7. Add the prunes and the soft liquorice. Add the hot stock, and the cinnamon stick.
  8. Pour into a casserole, and cook for 2 hours.
  9. Prepare a scone pastry by adding the soft butter and the cheese to the flour and salt.
  10. Rub the butter and cheese into the flour.
  11. Add the dried rosemary.
  12. Bind with the beaten egg.
  13. Roll out to a thickness of 15 cm and cut eight scones.
  14. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with grated cheese.
  15. Place the scones on top of the casserole and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Bresaola

Ask your butcher for the main muscle in the top round. This is from the top of the leg, usually regarded as a second class roast but excellently lean and close textured for our purposes

Method:-

  1. Trim off all the surface fat and silver-skin. Be merciless, it all makes for great stock. Don’t try to remove the single vein of silver-skin running through the centre of the muscle – your meat will fall apart if you do.
  2. Make up your dry cure from 100g of coarse salt, 100g of sugar, 5g black pepper and 5g of Prague Powder. You can go off piste with the aromatics if you like but I favour the traditional rosemary and juniper. Put the lot through the grinder and reserve half the cure in an airtight jar.
  3. Rub half the cure into the surface of the meat and seal it into a freezer bag. Place the meat in the fridge and allow to marinate, turning daily. After a week, take the meat out of the bag, dry it with a paper towel and then rub with the second half of the cure. Reseal and marinate for a second week.
  4. Remove any remaining cure and pat dry with paper towels. Tie two pieces of string vertically around the meat then tie a series of butchers knots horizontally around and wrap in clean muslin.
  5. Label clearly with date and weight and hang in a cool place, not too dry. Check regularly by taking a good deep sniff for unpleasantness and weighing carefully. Your bresaola will be ready after around three weeks when it’s lost 30% of its weight.

I usually remove the muslin for the last week of drying. If there’s a great deal of mould on the surface I wash it off with a clean piece of muslin soaked in vinegar.

Slice paper thin and serve as it comes or with a little olive oil and lemon juice.

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce

Preheat the oven to 120°C/Fan 100°C/Gas Mark ½

Ingredients:-

  • 2 small young wild rabbits (each weighing about 800g-1kg) or 1 large farmed rabbit (1.5-2kg), jointed
  • 25g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 150ml rabbit or chicken stock
  • ½ rounded tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • ½ rounded tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, plus extra sprigs to garnish

Method:-

  1. Season the rabbit pieces, then dust lightly with flour, knocking off and reserving the excess.
  2. Heat the oil and half the butter in a flameproof casserole or a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat until the butter is foaming. In batches, add the rabbit pieces and brown on both sides, then lift out onto a plate.
  3. Pour away the excess fat, then add the vinegar and scrape the pan with a spatula to release all the caramelised bits. Pour this over the rabbit, then wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper.
  4. Add the remaining butter to the pan and, when it has melted, add the garlic and fry gently for 1 minute. Stir in the reserved flour, then gradually stir in the white wine and rabbit or chicken stock.
  5. Return the rabbit pieces to the pan, cover tightly and simmer very gently until tender: wild rabbit will take about 1-1¼ hours; farmed rabbit about 45 minutes.
  6. Lift the rabbit out onto a warmed serving dish with a slotted spoon, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven.
  7. Increase the heat under the pan on the stove and bubble for a few minutes until the liquid is slightly reduced and well flavoured. Stir in the mustard and cream, then simmer a little longer until the sauce has slightly thickened once more – it should lightly coat the back of a spoon.
  8. Taste, season and stir in the tarragon.

To serve, pour the sauce over the rabbit on the serving dish. Sprinkle with the extra tarragon sprigs, then serve with buttery mashed potato.

Fillet of Venison with a Rich Chilli and Chocolate Sauce – Serves 4

Ingredients:-

  • 500g piece venison fillet
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • salt and black pepper to taste

For the sauce:

  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, or to taste, seeded and finely chopped
  • 150ml red wine
  • 
100ml good game or beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 x 45g bitter dark chocolate
, broken up
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Place the meat on a plate and pat dry with kitchen paper towels. Leave to come to room temperature before cooking.

To cook the venison:

  1. First lightly season the meat with salt and pepper and heat the butter in a large heavy frying pan. When the butter begins to look foamy add the meat and sear on all sides – allow about 1½ – 2 minutes on each of the four sides for medium rare.
  2. Remove from the pan, cover lightly and leave to ‘relax’ whilst making the sauce.
  3. Add the chopped onion to the pan.
  4. Finely chop the mushroom stalks and add with the chilli. Cook, over a medium heat, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes until golden.
  5. Add the red wine, stock, bay leaf and thyme and stir well until the mixture comes to the boil.
  6. Boil rapidly, stirring frequently until the sauce has reduced by half.
  7. Strain the sauce into a clean saucepan. Reheat and taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.
  8. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate to make a smooth glossy sauce.
  9. Taste again and whisk in a knob of butter or more seasoning or even chilli if desired.
  10. Carve the fillet into four pieces and serve with rösti, grilled mushrooms and hot sauce.

Wild Rabbit Loin Salad, Apple & Cider Syrup

For the rabbit:

  1. Marinade rabbit loins in olive oil, rosemary and chopped garlic.
  2. Gently seal in a non-stick frying pan.
  3. Season and cook until just pink.
  4. Let the meat rest, then slice when required.

For the dressing:

  1. Whisk rapeseed oil into cider vinegar and season gently.
  2. Dress salad leaves and add a little thinly sliced apple.

For the cider syrup:

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the cider and add the mixed spice.
  2. Simmer until reduced to a syrup. Cool and serve.

For the apple sauce:

  1. Put the apples, sugar, cider vinegar and butter into a microwave dish and cook on full power for 3 minutes until apple pulps.
  2. Purée with stick blender.

Assemble.