A wholesome meal-in-a-bowl, this soup is similar to Scotch broth, but made with lean diced rabbit rather than lamb. Aromatic tarragon and a mixture of vegetables give the soup a fabulous flavour, and an accompaniment of Scottish-style oatcakes brings a contrasting texture to complete the meal.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion, celery, leek and carrots, and cook gently for 5 minutes or until the onion and leek begin to soften. Stir in the rabbit and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 2–3 minutes.
Pour in the stock and vinegar, then stir in the redcurrant jelly and tarragon with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the oatcakes. Preheat the oven to 160ºC (325ºF, gas mark 3). Place the oatmeal in a bowl and stir in the tarragon, salt and baking powder. Add 4 tbsp boiling water to the melted butter, then stir into the oatmeal to make a fairly stiff paste.
Sprinkle a baking tray with flour. Gently roll the oatmeal dough into a ball and place it on the baking tray. Press or roll it out into a round measuring about 23 cm (9 in) in diameter. The dough is very crumbly at this stage, so press any cracks together with your fingertips. (The oatcakes firm up during baking.) Press the edge of the dough round to neaten it and cut into 8 wedges with a sharp knife. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully transfer the cooked oatcakes to a wire rack to cool.
Stir the rice into the soup and continue simmering, covered, for a further 15 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add the green beans and bring back to simmering point, then cook, uncovered, for a final 5 minutes or until the beans are tender.
Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Ladle into warm bowls and serve at once, with the warm oatcakes.
Some more ideas
To make a hearty rabbit casserole, replace the diced rabbit with 4 rabbit joints. Cook in a flameproof casserole, browning the joints with the vegetables in step 1. Omit the vinegar and replace half the stock with red wine. Omit the rice. Cover and cook gently on the hob or in the oven at 160°C (325°F, gas mark 3) for 1½ hours or until the rabbit is tender. Add the green beans for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Serve with baked potatoes or mixed long-grain and wild rice. * For a vegetarian variation, omit the rabbit and use vegetable stock. Use 2 leeks and add 1 crushed garlic clove with the vegetables in step 1. In step 5, add 225 g (8 oz) frozen broad beans with the rice, and 225 g (8 oz) shredded Savoy cabbage with the green beans.
Rabbit is a very low-fat meat and it has plenty of flavour. * Oats and oatmeal are a good source of soluble fibre. This can help to reduce high blood cholesterol levels and slow the absorption of sugar in the body, keeping blood sugar levels stable.
Each serving provides
A, B1, B12, folate, niacin, copper, iron, zinc * B2