Rabbit Stew by Sarah Topps
Right here is my entry for ‘tomato’ week. It isn’t the main ingredient but is certainly a big contribution to this delicious rich stew.
Rabbit can often be dry and boring but locally, it is stewed with herbs and tomatoes until the meat nearly falls off the bones. It makes a delicious, tender dish that reminds us of the woods and mountains.
1 rabbit cut into portions
8 fresh tomatoes
3 finely diced onions
2 celery sticks
3 carrots finely diced
4 rashers bacon or 1 packet panchetta
4 bay leaves
15 juniper berries
4 colves of garlic sliced
1 large stick of cinammon
3 sprigs of rosemary
3 sprigs of marjaram or thyme
1/2 bottle of good red wine
1. Gently fry the finely diced bacon with the butter for about 3-5 minutes or until soft.
2. Lay the rabbit pieces in the pot so that each piece of meat will sit on the pot bottom. If they don’t fit, do this in as many batches as it takes then sauté over high heat. You want to create new flavors through the browning of the meat. If the pot is not hot enough, or you put too much meat or there is too much meat and it gives off its juices, then no browning will occur and all you will have achieved is drying out the meat.
3. Season the rabbit then place it in a covered dish.
4. Now add the cinnamon and juniper berries to the bacon then the onion, carrot and celery. Fry over medium-high heat, moving constantly.
5. If you have the rabbit liver, chop it and add to the pan and let it colour. It will turn from red to grey.
6. When the liver has turned in colour, add the wine and let it bubble, cooking out all the alcohol.
7. Add the can or fresh tomatoes.
8. Now add the herbs, possibly tied in a buch to make it easier to remove later. Place the rabbit dive in and join his garnish. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the flame to obtain a very gentle simmering.
9. Let it cook for at least one hour or as long as it takes for the rabbit to be really soft and almost starts to fall off the bone.
10. Now you can either leave the sauce as it is, puree for a smoother effect or add a knob of butter and reduce slightly for a glossy finish. Whatever you do, it certainly will be full of flavour and very delicious. Enjoy!