Rabbit is a meat which has a taste and texture fairly similar to chicken or perhaps particularly turkey, so it is a little bit surprising it is not more widely included in soups. Like any good soup, rabbit soup begins with a good quality stock. In this particular recipe, the stock base of the soup is actually the leftover liquid from a rabbit stew prepared the day before which was utilized in this way to reduce food waste. Similarly, the rabbit meat in the soup is the leftover quantity from the stew.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 2 to 2½ pints rabbit stock
- 1 large potato
- 1 large carrot
- 1 small leek stem
- 1 cup shredded rabbit meat (approximately)
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
- Salt and black pepper
In hindsight, it would have been much simpler had I strained the rabbit stock immediately after the stew was prepared and served but making this soup was actually an afterthought so the gravy had cooled and slightly congealed. It therefore required to be heated up slightly before it could be strained.
The stock contained leftover bits of cooked out vegetables, perhaps a few small bones and similar bits and pieces that I didn't want included in my soup. All I did to get rid of these unwanted elements was suspend a fine sieve over a large bowl and pour the warmed stock through it.
You could in theory use virtually any combination from a potential wide variety of vegetables for your soup but I wanted to keep it fairly simple and rustic, like a soup that would have been prepared in olden times in an iron cooking pot over an open fire. This is why I used only the potato, carrot and leek pictured.
Peel the potato and slice and chop it in to around three-quarter inch chunks. Scrub the carrot, top and tail and cut to similar sized pieces. There's no need to peel the carrot unless the skin is in particularly poor condition. Wash the leek stem, cut off any remaining root and slice across the way in to approximately quarter inch discs.
Pour the strained stock in to a large soup or stock pot and add the prepared vegetables. Stir well and put the pot on to a high heat until the liquid reaches a simmer. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer fairly gently for twenty minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the potato and carrot pieces are softened.
While the vegetables were simmering in the stock, I took my leftover rabbit stew from the fridge and plucked the meat from the bones. It may look in the photo above as though there was not much rabbit left to include in the soup but when you start picking it at bones like these you will very often be pleasantly surprised. Do be careful when plucking the meat particularly from the ribs as small bones can easily be inadvertently included in your meat pile.
The rabbit meat pictured above all came from the small leftovers portion featured in the previous image. Far richer pickings than I had anticipated.
When the vegetables have simmered in the stock for the allotted twenty minutes, add the rabbit and parsley to the soup and stir well with a wooden spoon. Bring back to a simmer for a further two to three minutes only, just to ensure the rabbit is fully reheated and some of the parsley flavor has been imparted in to the soup.
Careful not to burn yourself, taste the soup at this stage and season as required with salt and some black pepper.
The rabbit soup is now ready to serve and can if you wish simply be ladled in to serving bowls or plates. If, however, you want a tasty little addition to serve with your soup, you may wish to consider the cheese and chive bread slices option detailed below.
Start by putting your broiler (overhead kitchen grill) on to preheat to its maximum setting. Cut three, one inch thick slices per person from a French style bread stick. You will notice that I cut these slices at a forty-five degree angle. This provides larger, more attractive and easier to work with slices.
Cut some slices of cheddar or similar hard cheese and arrange on top of the bread slices. You will probably need to do some creative cutting to ensure you have an even layer of cheese on each slice of bread.
Put the slices on to a tray and under your broiler (grill) until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Note that if you wish, you could toast one or even both sides of the bread before you add the cheese. This would give you a crispier, crunchier accompaniment to your soup.
Snip some chives with kitchen scissors and scatter over the melted cheese. You may also want to season with just a little bit of black pepper.
Ladle the rabbit and vegetable soup in to a bowl and sit the bowl on a large dinner plate. Arrange the cheese and chive bread slices around the bowl. A scattering of more chives over the soup as shown in the image near the top of this page is optional.