Slowing cooking wild, lean meat guarantees tender results. Try Philippa Davis' hare, rabbit and cognac rillettes for a supper party starter

Slowing cooking wild, lean meat such as hare and rabbit will get the best, tender results. Philippa Davis’ hare, rabbit and cognac rillettes make the ideal supper party starter, best served with lots of toast.

January is the ideal time to slow cook your game, so try Philippa Davis’ meltingly tender venison bourguignon pie. It is the ultimate comfort food supper.


This is an ideal way to get tender results and the most out of wild, lean meat such as hare and rabbit.

Serves 8 as a starter

  • 1 hare, jointed into 4
  • 1 rabbit, jointed into 4
  • 4 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ½ star anise
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 3 ground cloves
  • 100ml cognac, plus an extra splash
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 400g fat (venison, duck or goose), gently melted

Pre-heat oven to 120°C/250°F/Gas Mark ½.

Rub the meat with two teaspoons of fine sea salt and leave in the fridge for six to 12 hours. Lightly rinse and pat dry.

In a bowl, toss the meat with everything, apart from the fat, and season with pepper.

Fit the mix snuggly into an ovenproof dish then pour over the fat. Cover tightly with baking paper and foil and cook until the meat is meltingly tender (this could take up to four hours but check after two).

Once cool enough to handle, shred the meat into a clean bowl. Finely chop the cooked shallots and add these to the bowl.

Using a fork, roughly mix in a splash more cognac, most of the cooking liquid and some of the fat until you have a coarse, moist mix. Check for seasoning.

Press into serving-size jars and leave to cool.

Serve at room temperature with plenty of toast and pickles or capers mixed with parsley, sherry vinegar and shallots.