Italian Braised Rabbit
Slow cooked with carrots, onions, tomatoes, olives, fresh herbs, wine and brandy, braised rabbit makes an impressive rustic company dinner.
- 4 pounds rabbit
- rabbit’s liver, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 small onions, each cut into 8 pieces longitudinally
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 1 can tomatoes with juices, chopped into pieces
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2/3 cups olives
Have the rabbit cut up like a chicken, the saddle should be cut into three or four pieces. The saddle is the rounded portion of the back between the shoulder and loin.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Put a couple of tablespoons of flour into a paper bag. Put the rabbit pieces in the bag, roll the top shut, then shake the bag to evenly coat the rabbit with the flour.
Heat the oil in a large, lidded skillet over a medium flame. Add the onions, shallot and carrots and sauté them for a couple of minutes. Remove to a bowl.
Put the rabbit pieces in the skillet and brown them all around. Return the vegetables to the pan. Pour in the red wine and the brandy, then add the tomato paste and the can of tomatoes, with the juice. Stir to dissolve the paste into the liquid. Then scatter the herbs around and give everything a good grinding of black pepper.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and put into the oven.
After about 20 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and remove the lid. Stir in the chopped up liver and the olives. Put the lid back, then return the pan to the oven.
The rabbit should be done in another 20 minutes. This is terrific with pretty much any carb that you like—rice, mashed potatoes, a tubular pasta.