Earlier this week I pulled out a large, heavy cast iron casserole dish that gets much less use than it should, pulled a bunch of ingredients out of the fridge and cooked quite frankly the best stew I’ve ever had. have ever done. It was roast rabbit with bacon and mushrooms in a whiskey sauce, and I followed a recipe from the official Peaky Blinders cookbook published by White Lion Publishing.
I have a confession. I used chicken instead of rabbit, because who can get rabbit these days?
At the top of the recipe in the Peaky Blinders cookbook, it is written: “Known in the 1920s as the poor man’s chicken, the rabbit was accessible to all who could hunt it. And if you want to take Polly’s advice, remember that “Buck tastes better.”
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It might have been okay in the early 1900s, but in 2022 I’m not exactly going to go rabbit hunting for my dinner. Instead I went to Aldi to pick up chicken breasts – how very modern of me.
It says at the bottom of the ingredient list: “If you can’t get rabbit, use the chicken equivalent instead.” The full list of ingredients is as follows.
Four tablespoons of vegetable oil
200 g unsmoked bacon, chopped
One carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
A turnip, peeled and coarsely chopped (unfortunately I couldn’t find any)
150 g button mushrooms, chopped or sliced
Three and a half tablespoons of Irish whiskey
200ml dry cider
300ml chicken stock
Two sprigs of thyme
Two bay leaves
Three tablespoons of plain flour
450 g rabbit or chicken, diced
100ml double cream
A tablespoon of whole grain mustard
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
Steamed cabbage and boiled new potatoes, for serving
I made a few small adjustments to the recipe to simplify it. Here’s how I cooked it.
My version of Roasted Rabbit with Bacon and Mushrooms in a Whiskey Sauce Recipe
1. Coat the diced chicken breast with flour seasoned with salt and pepper and brown in a pan, then set aside
2. Fry the bacon in a casserole dish, then add the shallots and carrots
3. After a few minutes, add the mushrooms then the whiskey and cider
4. Let the liquid reduce by half
5. Add the broth, thyme, bay leaves and leave for a few minutes
6. Add the chicken and simmer the casserole for an hour
7. Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes
8. Boil the cabbage for 5 minutes
Overall the dish was quite tasty. I thought it could have been done with a little more seasoning, but that’s on me, I was aware of the saltiness of the bacon.
I also think you could increase the amount of whiskey and mustard in the stew, as both were overpowered. Other than that, it was absolutely perfect.
I was very surprised by the tenderness of the chicken. Knowing that I used the breast instead of the thigh which is generally drier, it was absolutely melt in the mouth.
My family agreed, as they hungrily dug into the stew, uttering words of appreciation between bites. This is definitely a recipe to keep in the locker.
The entire book is divided into five chapters with linked recipes. The first chapter is “Family Table at Watery Lane”, where my recipe is from, the second chapter is “At the bar of The Garrison”, the third chapter is “Lunch at the Derby”, the fourth chapter is “Dinner at The Eden Club”, and chapter five is “The Feast at Arrow House”. The cookbook includes a variety of starters, desserts and even cocktails.
You can grab the official Peaky Blinders cookbook at Amazon for the special price of £8.50 for a limited time, with the usual RRP of £14.99. The cookbook contains 50 recipes all selected by The Shelby Company Ltd.
Full recipe for Roasted Rabbit with Bacon and Mushrooms in a Whiskey Sauce – as seen in the official Peaky Blinders cookbook
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