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Scottish Cooking, Rabbit in Lentils

Rabbit is often underrated as a dish. Try this recipe
and you will add a new dimension to your culinary skills.

1 jointed rabbit
4 oz lentils
1 sliced onion
1 large carrot
2 sticks sliced celery
Parsley, thyme and a bay leaf
Salt and pepper

Place the rabbit joints in a pan with the lentils, onion, carrot, celery, herbs and seasoning. Cover with stock or water, cover the pan and cook gently for about 2 hours until the rabbit and lentils are really tender. Remove the rabbit joints to a clean dish.

Rub the vegetables through a sieve, or liquidise, adding a little more stock if necessary to make purée which should be like thick cream. Adjust seasoning. Coat the rabbit with the purée. Warm gently. Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley over the dish and serve.

Dunkeld Rabbits. It is tempting to think that, in those early days of scarcity of meat in Scotland, rabbits would surely have provided a much needed source; but this clearly was not so. Although Lords and Lairds had been directed in the seventeenth century to make 'cunningaries' (rabbit warrens), the Statistical Account reveals that even in the late eighteenth century rabbits could still be something of a rarity. The writer of the Dunkeld account considers his local warren worthy of special note.

" There is a rabbit warren in this parish," he writes. " It is in a low sandy haugh, two miles to the Westward of Dunkeld. On an average, 125 dozen were killed by the tacksman yearly. The skins may be valued at 65. the dozen, and the body sells at the rate of 5d. per pair.".

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