in the kitchen with: rohan anderson’s jamon rabbit roast with boozy asparagus


I came across Rohan Anderson’s blog, Whole Larder Love one morning via Lucy’s Design Files.  As I read through pages of the blog, I was happier and happier to have been introduced to it.  I like to think of Rohan as a mix between Aidan (Sex and the City Season 4 Episode 9: Sex and the Country) and Davy Crockett (King of the Wild Frontier).  Aidan refurbished his whole little cabin in Suffern by himself, and Davy Crockett…well he was king of the wild frontier.  Rohan forages, hunts, fishes, and grows the food he and his family eat in the wild frontier of Victoria in Australia.  This week I chose Rohan’s recipe of jamon wrapped rabbit roast with boozy asparagus because I think it is the perfect example of eating locally, seasonably and sustainably– something we definitely think and talk a lot about, but few of us get as close to our food as Rohan does to his.  I don’t know how easy it is to find rabbit in the United States, but here in Italy it is very common.  If you can’t find rabbit (or are put off by the idea), you can try this with another white meat.  Just make sure you get your ham crispy!  -Kristina

About Rohan: Rohan Anderson is a modern-day food warrior.  He lives in an old 1880s schoolhouse in regional Australia (a few hours outside of Melbourne) and he is primarily concerned with how to live off the land and lead a semi-sufficient life to provide his family with fresh, local food.   As a result, he hunts, fishes, forages and grows his own food, documenting his adventures and sharing his recipes and (sometimes contentious) views on his hugely popular blog, Whole Larder Love.  His first book, also entitled Whole Larder Love, has just been released through powerHouse books.

See Rohan’s recipe after the jump…

Jamon Wrapped Rabbit roast with boozy Asparagus

Note:  There are a few alterations to this meal, I tend to use my home cured jamon, but you can use store bought prosciutto. And you could also substitute the Roquefort for Gorgonzola, or any other blue cheese you prefer.

Ingredients (for two)

  • Two Rabbit Back straps
  • 4-6 slices (thick) Jamon
  • Roquefort cheese
  • Pepper
  • Bunch of white asparagus (8 stalks)
  • Fresh water cress
  • Cinzano Vermouth
  • Olive oil
  • Cracked black pepper

Preparation

  1. Place the two straps of rabbit together on a hard surface (bread board) and using a rolling pin, gently beat the meat until flattened and the two fillets have joined somewhat. Crack black pepper over the meat.
  2. Spoon over your desired amount of blue cheese to your taste, I’ll use a around three tablespoons.
  3. Roll the meat into a long sausage shape and then gentley wrap the jamon over the top.
  4. Use cooking string to tie up the roll to hold it together. Patience is paramount in this step (but its worth it)
  5. Pre heat the oven to 170C. Then heat a griddle pan on high, splash a little olive oil and sear the roll for a minute each side then place in the oven for 10 minutes.
  6. While the roll is roasting, trim the asparagus and blanch until softened (around 5 mins) then grill on the griddle pan with a splash of the cinzano (whact out this will flame A LOT) Cook off the alcohol and grill evenly.
  7. Place the asparagus on a  serving plate, with a garnish of water cress.
  8. Remove the roll from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes. Slice and place on top of asparagus water cress bed.
  9. Serve with Sauvignon blanc

Why Rohan loves this recipe

I often get asked why I eat so much rabbit and there’s a simple answer, it’s always in season where I live! It just so happens that it’s a pretty delicious eating meat too, which helps me convert the non-believers, especially when I cook a dish like this. If you don’t like blue cheese, look away now, because when I say blue cheese I’m talking of good stuff, Roquefort. That’s what tips this meal over into the food lovers department. It’s a marriage of rich flavour, the jamon and cheese battle for supremacy. I’m not sure who wins, maybe just our taste buds! And to make the extreme flavours even more extreme and exciting I like to give a little flair to the greens, well in this case, the whites. I’ve been using white asparagus, it’s just as easy to grow as the green stuff but it tends to be a little chunkier, which makes me happy.  More asparagus equates to happier cook. And using booze (in this case Cinzano Vermouth) adds to the sweetness of the asparagus, especially if it’s fresh from your garden.


  1. name (required) Jess L. says:

    As someone who has rabbits as pets this post sickens me! Imagine if you sat down to read your favorite blog when a post comes up for puppy pot pie, or cooked cat. Very poor taste DesignSponge!

  2. Mr Glitter says:

    I love Rohan’s (what a great name!) blog, and rabbit is extremely delicious if done well.

  3. I must admit. The picture looked more appetizing before I found out what meat it was.

  4. Marcella B says:

    This is just gross. If you are really a food warrior, talk about a wild animal and not a peaceful, sweet bunny rabbit. You’ve lost me as a fan.

  5. Dani says:

    I agree with Jess L., I too have house rabbits and this post made me feel ill…

  6. Paige says:

    Love! To go against other commenters, I find this post wonderful. I am a hunter and am always looking for recipes suited for wild game. When meat (whatever kind) is harvested with respect toward itself and the surrounding ecosystem I think it can be a wonderful alternative. Generally I would rather choose fresh deer over an over processed and hormonal cow or chicken. It is a matter of choice and I do not find it in poor taste; considering some countries would find eating cow horrific but we find it normal. Thank you Design Sponge for helping me culinary-wise, as always!

  7. Deborah says:

    To the people complaining about eating rabbits:

    I don’t know where you live, but in a lot of the world, rabbits ARE wild animals. Here in Australia they are. What makes it worse is that rabbits aren’t native, and so they can cause a lot of damage- not just to people’s gardens but to the native animals and their habitats, as well.

    Sure, rabbits are cute and fluffy. They’re also considered a pest in Australia, when they’re not being kept as pets. They have the added benefit of being delicious! Different strokes for different folks, guys. Eating rabbit doesn’t make Rohan Anderson or Design Sponge evil pet murderers.

  8. Laura says:

    So you must all be vegetarians? First World problems, people. Rabbit is a widely eaten meat and can be hunted locally in many places. The fact that it’s cute doesn’t enter into the conversation. Cows and pigs are adorable, too.
    Rohan is an impressive individual who seems steeped in reality.

  9. Carlye says:

    I’m with the bunny fans. I have a pet rabbit (aka house bunny), and the thought of eating a rabbit is truly disturbing. :( Some countries cook dog meat, but it doesn’t mean they should be treated as a meal.

  10. il. says:

    I’m sure I may regret raising my voice here and am likely to be misunderstood, but here goes. What people find ok to eat is really a question of what you’re used and different people are used to thinking of different animals as food.
    I own two house rabbits whom I have loved, pampered and cherished for many years. Just because I love them and would never let anyone eat them, doesn’t mean I’m opposed to other people eating other rabbits. It’s a bit like suggesting that people not eat bacon or ham because you have a pig as pet. Yet no one was upset by the use of Jamon in this recipe. People eat meat, some of the animals that meat comes from are cute, yet we still eat them. Suggesting that you not eat an animal because it is cute is arbitrary. Lambs and pigs are cute too, but most people are more used those as meat. I may personally choose not to eat them, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t recognise that, for others, rabbit may be a a plentiful (and healthy) source of meat.

  11. NMM says:

    These commenters are interesting to me. Just because you don’t eat rabbit doesn’t mean you have to stop being a fan. That’s obsurd. I don’t eat rabbit and we have some as pets and this isn’t the slightest bit concerning.

  12. Rachel says:

    Not to add fuel to the fire, but I feel that we should keep in mind that Rohan IS talking about wild animals; it isn’t like he’s going out and hunting pet rabbits. Choosing to preserve a particular breed of animal just because it is “cute” or “sweet” is, in my opinion, insensitive to other animals. I can understand why it may make people uncomfortable when thinking about their own pets, but it doesn’t mean that people who choose to hunt for their own food are in the wrong, especially if they do it in a sustainable way. And don’t forget, wild rabbits often live much happier lives than cows, pigs, and chickens grown specifically for commercial meat production.

  13. Rohan says:

    Guys, just to make it clear, I live in AUSTRALIA, it’s a country outside of America. Rabbits where introduced by the English settlers and have become an environmental disaster.

    I love the persons comments, “First world issues”…..because that exactly how to describe those with such reality so far removed from the actual reality. And yes in different countries different meats are eaten, horse in France, Squirrel in America and Kangaroo in Australia.

    Perhaps a little open mindedness in regards to different cultures would go a long way.

    PS. I don’t hunt pet rabbit.

  14. pandorameka says:

    Just because I love them and would never let anyone eat them, doesn’t mean I’m opposed to other people eating other rabbits. It’s a bit like suggesting that people not eat bacon or ham because you have a pig as pet.

  15. Maeve says:

    Well said, Rohan. Great recipe. Although you had me at ‘boozy asparagus’.

  16. Peggy says:

    Strangely enough, I knew a family who kept rabbits as pets. They named them, pet them, etc. When they felt the time was right…. like when they were fat enough, they would kill them and eat them.
    I never ate them and thought it was odd, but there you go. Oh and this was within the 5 boros of NYC.

  17. how2home says:

    This looks WAY too delicious! What an amazing chef! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe with us. Book marked! :)

  18. CJ* says:

    I was just going to comment on the asparagus, but I think I have to comment on rabbit now too!
    As for the asparagus, I’ve cooked it similarly before but used Limoncello. Give it a try as an alternative (and it was green asparagus), it tastes very fresh and light.

    As for the rabbits, I had one as a pet when I was a child (living in the US). I definitely will eat (a non-pet) rabbit. Like so many have said, a lot of animals are cute (I think cows have the sweetest faces, or how about fuzzy little lambs? ) but yet people eat them on a regular basis. To each their own, I don’t think this is any kind of poor reflection on the site or the chef!

  19. il. says:

    Well said Rohan!

    And Peggy, my family did the same thing! The two pet rabbits I now own are ones that they gifted me (I have grown to love them too much to eat after 5 years though). I think when I was younger it upset me that our backyard rabbits ended up on our plates, but as I got older and wiser it went a long way in informing my understanding of meat and being aware and respectful of where it comes from. And like someone so wisely said here, wild rabbits have a much happier life than some of the more widely “acceptable” farmed meats of the US.

  20. Charlei Scott says:

    Someone said he should talk about a wild animal instead of a little bunny rabbit. Rabbit only became domesticated and kept as pets because way back when people raised them for meat. Rabbits, as most animals that are now pets, started as wild animals.

    Also, Rohan is in Australia, a place where bunnies are not native, but were introduced and are now highly invasive, destroying natural habitats and the ecosystem. The Australian government actually talks about how invasive the feral rabbit population is here: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/publications/rabbit.html

  21. Stacie says:

    I’m eager to try this recipe.Thanks so much for sharing :)

  22. Thomas says:

    I have a House Rabbit. He is the most intuitive and direct creature I have ever had the pleasure of caring for. He is a Rex, he was born in captivity, and was meant to stay there.
    Wild rabbits do not take well to domestication (I’m speaking of the instances where baby rabbits are snatched from their warren).
    To all the rabbit parents out there that don’t have a clear understanding between the difference between a House Rabbit, one of the forty-five breeds of rabbits recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, and a wild rabbit, I encourage you to research.
    I am a proud Rabbit Papa and I find Wild Rabbit to be delicious.

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