Wellington the rabbit

In Australia, you can’t get meat that’s much more sustainable and environmentally friendly than wild rabbit. Mark Dureau hunts them on farms north of Griffith to keep the population in check. Otherwise they’d wreak havoc with the land. Personally, I much prefer this option than poisoning them, not least because I think wild rabbit is so damn tasty! I used the legs in a Sicilian rabbit pasta (which was delicious) and didn’t want to let the rest of him go to waste.

Wellington the rabbit with creamy sweet potato mash

Wellington the rabbit with creamy sweet potato mash

I don’t know where the idea came from, but I thought to wrap the tenderloins and backstrap in the beautiful all butter Carême traditional puff pastry I had in the freezer. Stewing on what flavours to put with it, I thought I’d take the advice of my nutritionist, Nutrition by Nature, and turn to pate (liver is loaded with readily accessible nutrients). So, ‘Wellington the rabbit’ was created. I’d highly recommend him to you.

I have added a step in the recipe here. I suggest, once you’ve rolled the rabbit with the pate and ham, you put it in the freezer for about twenty minutes. This will make it easier to wrap in pastry, and means the meat cooks slower than the pastry. This is important, because the little tenderloins won’t take long to cook, and you want the pastry to have time to cook through.

Serves 2

2 shaved slices air cured ham (I used prosciutto)
2 tablespoons pate
2 each of the tenderloin and backstrap of a wild rabbit
grams puff pastry
1 small egg, beaten

Cover your sushi mat with cling film or the paper from the frozen pastry.

Lay the two slices of air cured ham side by side on the paper on the sushi mat. You want them to be as long as your rabbit pieces, and wide enough to completely wrap them. Evenly spread the ham with pate. Lay the rabbit tenderloins and backstraps in opposite directions atop the pate covered ham. (You’re laying them in opposite directions so one thin end is paired with a thick end, so to speak.)

Pulling the sushi mat as tight as possible, roll the rabbit tightly in the ham. Twist the ends of the cling film to seal and place the tightly wrapped rabbit in the freezer for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, defrost the pastry and preheat the oven to 220oC.

Remove the wrapped rabbit from the freezer. If you need to, roll the pastry so it’s large enough to wrap the rabbit. Remove the rabbit from the cling film.

Cover the sushi mat with clean cling film. Lay the pastry atop the cling film, and the rabbit atop the pastry. Using the same technique as before, wrap the rabbit tightly in the pastry and brushing a little egg on the edges to glue them closed.

Place on a lined baking tray then into the oven for twenty minutes at 220oC. Remove from the oven and rest for a few minutes before cutting in two. Serve with creamy sweet potato mash.

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