1 wild rabbit, jointed (ask your butcher to do this)
100g/3½oz pancetta, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 head garlic, halved
1 rosemary sprig
1 Bramley apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
500ml/18fl oz sweet cider
300ml/10fl oz dark chicken stock
100ml/3½fl oz double cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tarragon sprigs, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the roasted snails
6 blanched snails in their shells (available from specialist retailers)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 anchovy fillet, roughly chopped
1 small bunch flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp blanched almonds, roughly chopped
splash aniseed liqueur
Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan/Gas 3½.
Heat some olive oil in a large casserole dish. Season the rabbit pieces all over and colour in the pan. Remove from the pan and rest.
Add the pancetta to the pan and fry until crisp. Add the onion, carrots, celery and pancetta to the pan and cook until soft. Add the rosemary and apple and pour in the cider. Simmer until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half, then add the stock. Return the rabbit to the pan along with the bay leaf and garlic. Braise, uncovered, in the oven for 1–1½ hours.
Meanwhile, mix together the butter, garlic, shallot, anchovy, parsley, almonds and aniseed liqueur and fill each of the snail shells.
When the cooking time is up, remove the rabbit from the casserole dish and keep warm. Increase the oven temperature to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
Put the casserole dish on the hob and simmer until the stock has thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour in the cream and stir in the Dijon mustard and tarragon.
Meanwhile roast the snails in the hot oven for 15 minutes, or until bubbling.
To serve, divide the cooked rabbit between serving bowls. Spoon over the sauce and place the snails on top.
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