This is a classic from Depot. Wild rabbit is a very lean meat, so cooking it slowly in rendered duck fat with plenty of fatty pork belly keeps it moist. The rillettes take a little bit of prep time but can be kept in sterilised jars covered with a layer of clean duck fat for weeks. Best served at room temperature with cherry relish and a glass of pinot noir!
Step 1: Rabbit Rillettes
Preheat the oven to 140ºC. Take a medium-sized ovenproof dish, add all the ingredients and mix together. Bring up to a simmer on the stovetop, then cover with tinfoil or a lid. Place in the oven and cook slowly for 3–3½ hours, stirring occasionally. Check every so often and top up with water if the liquid has evaporated.
When tender, and both the rabbit and the pork are falling apart, remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.
Pour the cooked meat and juices into a colander, or similar, with a bowl underneath to catch the liquid. Remove the rabbit leg meat from the bones and discard the bones along with the bay leaves, transferring both meats to a separate bowl.
Using a fork or clean hands, shred and mix the rabbit and pork meat together. Now add in enough of the cooking juices and fat to create a creamy texture and consistency.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the rillettes to a storage container and refrigerate until required.
Step 2: To Serve
Remove the rillettes from the refrigerator about an hour before serving.
Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Brush both sides of the sliced bread with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray, and bake until lightly golden and beginning to crisp up. Remove from the oven and cool. Spoon the room-temperature rillettes onto serving plates, stack with bruschetta and cornichons, and finish with a spoonful of cherry relish on the side of each plate.
Photography by Kieran Scott