Rabbit and wild cherry casserole

Rabbit & wild cherry casserole

Gladwin Brothers

1 large rabbit (approx. 800g) skinned, gutted & jointed
30ml rapeseed oil
2 medium red onions, finely
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
20g plain flour
120ml white wine
120ml cranberry juice
200g wild cherries, stoned & halved
Fresh pasta & summer greens to serve


Serves 4 – 6

This Rabbit and wild cherry casserole was created because we have some massive old wild cherry trees down at Nutbourne which yield a bountiful crop of very small, sour, bright red fruits. The longer we leave them on the trees the sweeter they become, but the race to harvest is pitted against the local jays who are also waiting for their moment to feast. The answer is to get in first and we have a hilarious session with ladders, baskets and girlfriends to gather up the fruit while we climb and shake the trees. The result is delicious free food to steep, bottle or cook with. This unusual recipe uses the acidity and natural sweetness of the cherries to complement the delicate flavour of the wild meat.

Heat a heavy-based ovenproof casserole over a moderate heat, add the oil and fry the onions and garlic for 3 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Coat the rabbit pieces in the flour and add them to the pan. Cook the meat for 3–4 minutes until browned on all sides. Stir in the wine and cranberry juice. Toss in the cherries and season well.

Bring up to simmering point, put on the lid (or cover the pan with foil) and transfer the casserole to the oven at 180°C to braise for 30 minutes. Once the casserole is cooked it can be eaten right away or reheated later. Serve with fresh pasta and summer garden greens.