Paul Welburn, who has worked under Andrew Pern, Brian Hughson and Richard Corrigan during his career, was executive chef at the Michelin-starred Oxford Kitchen in Oxfordshire. He now runs the 215 Kitchen and Drinks restaurant in Summertown, which has just been awarded three coveted AA rosettes.
Here, he shows us how to make a delicious chorizo-stuffed rabbit saddle with scallops and chilled sweetcorn sauce.
Rabbit can often be quite a dry meat, but rolling the loin in pancetta and stuffing it with Spanish chorizo ensures a delicious, rich little morsel which pairs perfectly with sweet scallops. The chilled sweetcorn sauce doesn’t just look good – it complements the other flavours on the plate wonderfully.
2 rabbit saddles, with livers if the saddles come with them
200g of Spanish chorizo, (picante), skinned and chopped
1/4 onion, finely sliced
rapeseed oil, for frying
16 slices of pancetta
dill, chervil, alfafa sprouts and/or any other herbs you desire, to garnish
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
12 large scallops, or 20 smaller ones
2 tsp rapeseed oil
2 knobs of butter
250g of sweetcorn kernel, (tinned), drained
50ml of double cream
100ml of chicken stock
1 fresh corn on the cob, ideally in its husk
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1. Begin by adding 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil into a pan and gently sweat off the onion until soft without colour. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.
2. Meanwhile, prep the rabbit saddles. Remove the two loins from each saddle and the two fillets from underneath – retain the liver if it has it attached. Remove the loins. from the belly flaps and trim off the silverskin membrane leaving four perfect loins.
3. Remove and discard any fat from the four belly flaps, prick them with the end of the knife, then cover with a sheet of parchment or clingfilm. Use a rolling pin to beat the flaps which will both tenderise them and flatten them out.
4. Once the onions have cooled, place them in a blender with the chorizo and blend to create a stuffing mixture.
5. Carefully lay out two pieces of clingfilm on the counter and smooth out with a damp cloth. Position a flattened belly flap onto each and then a loin down the length of it. Take a quarter of the stuffing mixture and mould into a sausage shape beside the loin. If you are using the liver, slice into lengths and place on top of the stuffing.
6. Roll the cling film over each loin, wrapping the belly around the loin and stuffing. The belly flap may not be large enough to wrap around completely but it will be ok as long as the clingfilm is nice and tight. Tie the ends then repeat the process with the remaining three rabbit loins. Chill in the fridge for one hour.
7. Meanwhile, make the sweetcorn sauce. Bring the cream and stock to a boil then pour into a blender with the sweetcorn. Blend until very smooth (a few minutes) then pass through a fine sieve. Taste and season. The texture when hot should be like single cream – it will thicken slightly when cold. Chill with cling film touching the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
8. Cook the whole sweetcorn in a pan of salted boiling water (ideally in its husk) for 15 minutes or until tender, then chill. Once chilled, remove the husk and cut away the sweet corn but try to keep the kernels attached in big pieces. Reserve to char before serving.
9. Remove the cling film from the rabbit – it should hold its shape. Lay out four more sheets of clingfilm and lay four slices of slightly overlapping pancetta vertically on each. Place the rolled rabbit horizontally on top, then wrap up in cling film again, ensuring the pancetta wraps around the rabbit. Tie the ends tightly and place back in the fridge for ideally another hour. You will find the salt from the pancetta will begin to cure the rabbit, which will help seal the rabbit roll and make it easier to cook.
10. When ready to cook the rabbit, add 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil to a large nonstick frying pan and place over a medium heat. Remove the loins from the clingfilm and add to the pan, seam-side down. Gently cook for 10-15 minutes, turning them often to get a nice even colour on all sides and cooking them through evenly. Once evenly coloured, remove from the pan and leave to rest in a warm place. You can use a temperature probe if you have one to check the core temperature is between 60-64°C.
11. After the rabbit has been cooking for 10 minutes, you can cook the scallops. Place a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the scallops presentation-side down. After about three minutes, flip them over – you should have a nice golden crust. Add the butter and, once foaming, baste the scallops for one minute. Remove from the pan, season and rest in a warm place.
12. While the scallops rest, char the sweetcorn pieces in a hot dry pan with a small dash of oil – don’t shake the pan too much as the pieces may break up. You could also use a blowtorch if you have one.
13. To plate, spoon some of the chilled sweetcorn sauce into each bowl or plate. Carve the rested rabbit loins into three and place on top. Add the scallops and a piece of charred corn. Top with the herbs and dress with a little extra virgin olive oil.