Anyone Fancy Coney Carbonara?
Shooting Times & Country|September 29, 2021
Cooking rabbit well can be a real challenge but with some expert advice our aspiring chef reckons he’s cracked it
Jamie Tusting 

After a cold end to August, September came back with a bang; hot sun and no rain. The warm weather prompted me to get on with some grass seeding I had long been putting off and some time spare at the weekend meant I could get it done. The problem, however, was that whenever I plant anything new in the garden, the army of rabbits living under the shed marches boldly forward to thwart the advance of any young shoots pushing upwards through the soil.

This time I was determined not to let them win and extensive rabbit netting was deployed. I also decided that it was about time the problem was resolved more comprehensively, so I installed an advanced line of defense in the form of some rabbit cage traps. Cage trapping rabbits is a skill I have long since mastered, having spent many hours as a child catching them all around our farm. Over one particularly fruitful school holiday, my brothers and I caught more than 100.

I borrowed a few traps from the gamekeeper and carefully positioned them around the garden. As I baited them with carrots, my spaniel Millie looked on with interest, wondering whether the carrot slices were for her or not. Over the next few days, my trapping bore fruit and several rabbits were caught. Curiously, they all had black fur.

I have been warned of the bad luck killing a black rabbit could bring, but I decided to take my chances and soon had a handful hanging in the shed. More importantly, though, with a bit of watering and a few more days of sunshine to warm the ground, the grass seeds began to grow.

Delicious

Later in the week, I happened to be out for dinner in London; a little Italian restaurant off Sloane Square called Manicomio. While their cocktails and wine list were excellent, it was something else on the menu that caught my eye: rabbit carbonara. I couldn’t recall the last time I had seen rabbit on the menu and was thrilled to order it. Compliments to the chef on that one, because it was simply delicious. The rabbit was tender, rich, flavorsome, and worked surprisingly well in a carbonara.

While I have no doubt the rabbit used would have been farmed, the evening made me wonder whether I was overlooking the potential of the rabbits hanging in the shed. While I am by no means a chef, I know my way around the kitchen and was willing to try some experimental cooking. What was the perfect way to cook a rabbit?

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