Rabbit Ballantine by Ashley Binder at Middlethorpe Hall, York, England

Ashley Binder is the Head Chef at the historic Middlethorpe Hall in York, which boasts an award winning restaurant. 

Middlethorpe Hall is a 17th century William and Mary country house standing in 20 acres of manicured gardens and parkland just outside of the historic medieval city of York. Its 29 bedrooms are all individually furnished and many offer stunning views of the grounds surrounding the hotel. The 60 cover 2 AA Rosette restaurant is open daily serving modern and classic British dishes. 

It’s no surprising then that the restaurant  has won the ‘Restaurant of the Year award both in 2015 and 2013 at the Visit York Awards.

Rabbit ballontine

• 2 rabbits legs and lion removed (ask your butcher to prep)
• 100g Maldon sea salt
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 8 sprigs of thyme 

Blitz together Maldon sea salt, garlic and thyme. Rub generously over the rabbit legs but keep the loins separate.  Cure for 2 hours. Wash legs off and confit in duck fat in an oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 1 hour and 30 minutes. When tender allow to cool and pick the meat down being careful not to leave any bones behind.

• 1 carrot
• 2 celery sticks pealed 
• ½ leek ( white)
• 1 glove of garlic
• 1 onion
• 6 sprigs of tarragon
• 200ml reduced chicken stock
• 8 slices of Prosciutto

Cut all the vegetables in to small dice and sweat in a heavy based pan add the chicken stock and reduce. Chop the tarragon and mix vegetables and confit rabbit legs, season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast the rabbit loins in butter with thyme and garlic. 

To make the ballontine you will need to lay out sheets of cling film onto a flat work surface flatten the cling film with a cloth so there are no air bubbles, use about 5-6 sheets overlapping to give you a nice area to make  your ballontine.  Once you have done that you will need to lay the prosciutto in two rows of four overlapping so there are no gaps. Now you are ready to make your ballontine, lay half your rabbitleg mixture across the bottom four slices of prosciutto, then put your roasted loins down the middle of your mix and sandwich them in the middle by putting the rest of the leg mix on the top. Roll up your ballontine by lifting the cling film from the surface and use it to help you wrap the ham around the outside of the ballontine, roll it a up and tie both ends. Make sure it’s nice and tight or it will be hard to slice nicely.  Refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Tarragon mayonnaise 
• 200ml tarragon oil (pomace oil infused with tarragon)
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 tsp white wine vinegar
• 1 tsp` Dijon mustard

Mix the yolks, vinegar and mustard together, slowly add the oil whisking constantly until fully incorporated. To finish season with a little salt to taste   

Carrot puree 
• 8 peeled and finely sliced  carrots 
• 200g butter
• 100g demerara sugar
• 2 star anise
• Salt to taste

Cook down the carrots in a heavy based pan until soft drain off excess liquid and keep to one side. Transfer the carrots to a blender and blitz until smooth if it seems to thick add back some of your reserved liquid. Pass through a fine sieve into a piping bag.

Duck fat roast carrots
• 12 mixed  baby carrots
• Duck fat
• Maldon sea salt

Clean carrots leave an inch of the top on for presentation keep the carrot fonts in iced water for garnishing , wrap a small bit of tin foil around the tops so they don’t burn and roast on an oven at 180 degrees Celsius of 8 min. 

To plate (4 people)
• 12 tarragon shoots
• 12 carrot fonts
• Carrot puree (in pipping bag)
• Tarragon mayonnaise (in piping bag)
• 4 nice slices of ballontine
• Roasted carrots cut in half and dressed

Serve with the Champagne, Piper-HeidsieckCuvée Brut, Non-Vintage.