Coney Coddle - Irish-style Rabbit Stew
I enjoy taking international dishes and turning them into something that can be cooked with wild game. Sometimes it works very well and other times it fails to impress. But this idea, adding rabbit into a traditional Irish dish called Dublin Coddle, was magic!
In Ireland, coddle is typically made with leftovers like potatoes, bacon, sausages and onions. Ingredients are layered in a casserole dish and then slowly braised in stock. It comes out of the oven all bubbly, hot and aromatic, and the stock becomes to die for as it takes on the awesome flavors of the bacon, potatoes and sausages. Coddle is aptly considered a comfort food and is popular during the winter months.
I am a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings movies. The use of rabbit in this coddle was inspired by The Two Towers, when Sam says to Gollum, "There's only one way to eat a brace of coneys!" Then Sam cooks up a delicious pot of rabbit stew, and laments on not having any potatoes. I have provided a clip for your enjoyment below.
This scene has stayed with me since, and this dish is its end result. It was also the first time I learned that rabbits are also called coneys, which has become my new favorite word. (You must know that I'm quite proud of my clever-- at least I think so-- use of alliteration in the name I gave this dish-- C-c-c-coney C-c-c-coddle!) This dish is also made with rabbit stock that I made from rabbit bones, which has a lovely undomesticated taste. It looks a lot like chicken stock, but only sweeter and more "wild," if that makes any sense. If you've never made stock before, it's quite easy. You can use the same method below for making chicken stock, too.
Did you know that Coney Island in New York was named for its abundance of rabbits before it became a resort?
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours
- 3 plump wild rabbits, or 1 large domesticated rabbit, cleaned
- 5 cups of water
- 3 celery sticks,cut up into thirds
- 1 carrot, chopped
- half an onion,halved
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of whole black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 large leek, white and some green parts sliced, wash thoroughly
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 4 slices of bacon
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 sausages, halved lengthwise and then halved again across
- 1 pound of mini Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
You can choose to cut up your rabbit or keep it whole. We chose to cut it up to make it easier to shred later on. To butcher a rabbit, separate each leg from the body at the hips and shoulders. If it's a big rabbit, you can also cut across the back.
The photo actually shows a wild rabbit and a domesticated rabbit. As you may have guessed, the wild rabbit is much smaller and has slightly darker meat.
1. To make rabbit stock, place rabbit(s) in a medium to large Dutch oven.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F when you get to step 4.
2. Then add water, celery, carrot, half an onion, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, whole black peppers and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until rabbit is tender enough to shred.
Skim off and discard any foam that forms on the surface of your broth.
3. After 30 minutes, remove the rabbit from the Dutch oven and pick off as much meat as you can. Then set the meat aside. Return rabbit bones to Dutch oven and simmer for another 45 minutes, covered.
Afterwards, strain out the broth into another container, discarding any solids. Set broth aside.
4. In a skillet, cook bacon then remove. Drain off bacon grease, but leave 1 tablespoon behind. Then cook sausages in the same skillet until browned on all sides. Remove the sausages, then cook 1 sliced onion in the bacon grease for 7 minutes, or until translucent, stirring occasionally.
5. Next, layer a lidded casserole dish or the same Dutch oven like so: onion, bacon, sausages, leek, rabbit, thyme, garlic...
seasoning each layer with plenty of cracked black pepper.
Then finish off with a layer of potatoes, seasoning with a little more black pepper on top. Then pour in the rabbit stock.
Cover tightly and bake in a 300 degrees F oven for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Adjust seasonings.
6. Ladle into individual bowls and serve with bread, or soda bread if you have.
Enjoy! This dish is perfect for winter.