Taste Explosion: The Rare Breed Chef

Game Recipes from Tom Cockerill

Wild Rabbit Ragu


Available all year round, wild rabbit is leaner and tastier than the farmed variety although much less gamey than Hare. It’s rarely found in supermarkets, but most good butchers will easily be able to obtain one or two for you. Ask them to joint them. This recipe is a classic Italian slow braised stew, served here with pappardelle but you could also use this ragu as a base for lasagne or a rich rabbit ‘shepherd’s’ pie.


1 Wild Rabbit, Jointed

100g Pancetta Lardons

1 Carrot, Diced

1 Stick Celery, Chopped, Reserve Some Celery Leaf

1 Onion Chopped

2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped

1 Bay Leaf

½  Tbsp Mustard Seeds

1 Tin Good Quality Chopped Tomatoes

1 Tbsp Tomato Puree

Olive Oil

75g Butter

12 Green Olives Roughly Chopped

2 Anchovies Chopped

500ml Chicken Stock

Large Glass of White Wine

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  • Season the rabbit with salt & pepper. Heat a little oil in a large oven casserole pan, brown the jointed rabbit pieces using tongs to turn until well coloured. Remove and set aside.

  • Add the pancetta and stir until starting to crisp; add the carrot, celery, garlic, bay and mustard seeds; stir until softened; add the white wine; boil off the alcohol before adding the chicken stock, chopped tomatoes, olives and anchovies. Bring to a simmer, cover and place in an oven at 140C for 2 -3 hours.

  • Carefully remove the rabbit joints and shred the meat with a fork before stirring back into the ragu.

  • Over a gentle heat rapidly stir in the butter to enrich the sauce.

  • Serve with pappardelle, lots of freshly grated parmesan and chopped celery leaf.

Partridge Stuffed with Colwick Cheese and Coppa Ham

Colwick cheese is a traditional fresh curd cheese originating in the 17th Century from the village of Colwick in Nottinghamshire that has recently been revived by Alan & Jane Hewson using milk from their herd of rare breed ‘Red Poll’ Cattle at the Belvoir Ridge Creamery.


2 Partridge
200g Colwick Cheese
8 Slices Coppa Ham (or Proscuitto)

Sage Leaves
30g Cooked Chestnuts, Crumbled
1 Large Red Onion (sliced into 1/8ths)
3 Crushed Juniper Berries
150ml Balsamic Vinegar
2 Sprigs Thyme
2 Tbsp Rapeseed Oil
Salt & Pepper


  • Season the inside of the partridge and stuff with the Colwick cheese, crumbled chestnuts and a few sage leaves. Cover each partridge with 4 slices of Coppa ham.

  • Place the onion, thyme, juniper & rapeseed oil into a heavy based cast iron pan with a little seasoning. Place in an oven pre-heated to 190C for 10 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and place each partridge on top of the onions before returning to the oven for a further 15 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven and place the partridge on a warm plate and cover with tin foil to rest. Add the balsamic to the pan and over a high heat, reduce the contents of the pan to a sticky glaze, stirring occasionally. Serve each stuffed partridge with a little of the balsamic roast onions & enjoy!

Top Tip: Freeze any leftover game bones and when you’ve saved a decent cache, they make amazing stock - a perfect base for winter soups, risottos & stews.

Find Tom at www.therarebreedchef.com and on Instagram: 

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