Thursday 3 February 2011

wild rabbit, green olive & marjoram pappardelle

Kung Hei Fat Choy / Gong Xi Far Tsai !

Today is the first day of Chinese New Year and therefore the first day of the Year of the Rabbit.

My city council has listed some of the important customs of the Chinese New Year:

• Greet people with "Kung Hei Fat Choy", or "Gong Xi Far Tsai" (Happy New Year) to bring good fortune and prosperity.
• Keeping an empty seat at the table to symbolise the presence of family members who can't be there.
• In the lead up, clean your house to sweep out the bad luck of the previous year but don't clean on New Years Day or you'll sweep away the good luck of the new year.
• Let the old year out by opening every door and window in the house on the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.
• Pay off all debts and cast all grudges aside.
• Do not use knives or scissors on New Year's Day as this may cut off fortune.
• On New Year's Day wear new clothes and be on your best behaviour, as actions on this day set the tone for the year to follow.
• Ward off bad luck by draping red cloth on your doorway.
• The Kitchen God, the guardian of the family hearth, will be reporting to heaven on the behaviour of the family over the past year, so make sure you feed him with sweet foods and honey to ensure he says sweet things about you.

I love the idea that I have a Kitchen God!

There are twelve signs in the Chinese zodiac, but only six are edible (according to moi).

I demonstrated this with seven days of pork recipes to bring in the Year of the Pig back in 2007, but unfortunately I didn’t get my act together for the Year of the Ox back in 2009.

This year I won’t be caught out and am offering up this sumptuous rabbit pasta, care of Mr Jamie Oliver.

I’m still not sure whether cooking the animal of honour is sacrilegious or not, but since no one has told me otherwise I suppose I can look forward to greeting in 2012 and the Year of the.....Dragon!

The flavours of this dish are herbal and comforting.

It’s easy to make, but it does involve a lot of steps and waiting period for marinating and roasting and cooling and reducing and boiling.

But it’s worth it.

Pappardelle w Wild Rabbit, Green Olives & Marjoram

1 wild rabbit, jointed
Olive oil
2 knobs butter
Few sprigs fresh thyme, picked over (reserve some for serving)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic
3 wineglasses white wine
600g pappardelle pasta
Small handful green olives, stoned and roughly chopped
Bunch of fresh marjoram
Handful freshly grated Parmesan
Zest of ½ orange or lemon (optional)

Small bunch of fresh thyme, picked over
6 cloves garlic, crushed
Glug of olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon


1. The night before, mix the marinade ingredients together and rub them all over the rabbit pieces. Leave them to marinate overnight in the fridge (can be left like this for up to 2 days for a stronger flavour).

2. Preheat oven to 180’C and in a large, heavy-bottomed ovenproof saucepan, heat some olive oil and a knob of butter.

3. Season rabbit with salt and pepper then add to the pan and brown for a couple of minutes on each side until golden.

4. Add thyme, rosemary and garlic cloves then stir and add wine to almost cover the meat.

5. Cover with lid then cook in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat pulls away from the bone easily. Cool meat in juices.

6. When cool, shred the meat with your hands into 2.5cm strips and discard bones.

7. Remove the rosemary, thyme and garlic and heat to reduce juices to slightly thickened liquor (add optional tomatoes here).

8. Turn heat to low and add marjoram, olives and shredded meat. Stir and season to taste.

9. Boil pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and reserve a little cooking water.

10. Turn up heat under meat sauce and toss through remaining knob of butter, orange/lemon zest (optional) and cooked pappardelle. You may need to add a little pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce.

11. Serve immediately with reserved thyme leaves.

Variation: in the photo in the cookbook, the juices are quite red which leads me to believe a tomato was added somewhere along the process. I added two chopped, skinned tomatoes when I reduced the juices and they broke down perfectly.

This is my contribution to Presto Pasta Nights founded and hosted by Ruth from Once Upon A Feast


This is a short shout out to Ms Correct, who loves a good bunny and adores pappardelle. Let's just hope her fiance 007 can tear himself away from bombing small villages and assassinating dictators to get his ass back to Oz sometime soon. You heard me B-Rad! Put down that Blackberry / MI5 receiver and get on a plane!!!


  1. oooooooo this looks amazing. I am yet to cook rabbit....

  2. Oh- I have such a soft spot for rabbit ragu. A bowl of that, a glass of pink wine and I'd be the happiest of campers...

  3. I love lapin (French word for rabbit). Love it in stew and pasta dishes. I love the flavour of your dish. Planning to duplicate it this weekend.

  4. Clean my house ? I'll pass. Feed the Kitchen God (hello, I could so pass as a kitchen god[dess]) ? Yessss please! This looks so warm and comforting, what great flavours. Is it okay to eat bunnies during celebrations for the year of the rabbit ? :P

  5. muppy - it's not as scary as it may seem. give it a go.

    tori - i'm pretty partial to ragu myself, almost any kind to be honest.

    ellie - i have a great recipe for lapin aux pruneaux that i've been dying to try out. apparently it's a recipe from aquitaine, from the agen prune region.

    foodie & the chef - well another friend told me you're supposed to clean beforehand but NOT on new years day or otherwise you sweep out the good luck. so i guess we're off the hook.

  6. That looks fantastic and a great way to bring in the bunny. And I love a good rustic pappardelle - great match!

  7. I've had mixed results (and have mixed feelings) about the bunny but this looks and sounds absolutely delicious. Once I'm back in my kitchen I think you'll have inspired me to get my rabbit on.

  8. This look very delicious. The way to cook it is a little complicated to me, but I will give it a try sometimes. Thanks for sharing.


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