Slow Cooked Rabbit Stew

Slow Cooked Rabbit Stew (Coniglio alla Cacciatora)

This is a fantastic dish for Autumn/Winter that has a rich and deep flavour. Make sure you use a plump, fresh, local rabbit which should be available from a good butcher. When cooked right, the meat will fall off the bone! Simply delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large rabbit (about 1 to 1.5kgs)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned flour (add to plain flour a sprinkle of pepper, pinch of salt, pinch of paprika and pinch of dried oregano)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small carrot, sliced
  • 4 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 a stalk of celery, sliced
  • 3 small sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tsp of dried sage leaves (or you can use fresh)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups of dry white wine
  • 400g tin of Italian pelati tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 12 kalamata olives (you can substitute with mixed green and black olives if you like)
Method:

  1. Cut the rabbit into 6 large pieces. Coat them in the flour.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy casserole pot over moderate heat. Brown the rabbit pieces in 2 batches so that they are golden all over. Remove from the pan and set the rabbit pieces aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium/low. Add the onion, 1 rosemary sprig, carrot, sage and celery to the pot. Cook gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and add the mushrooms to the pan and return all of the rabbit pieces to the pot.
  4. Increase the heat to high. Add the wine and cook for about 1 minute until the wine starts to simmer. Then add the tomatoes and the stock. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for about 1.5 hours to 2 hours until the rabbit is tender.
  5. Halfway through cooking, check the sauce to see if it has thickened. If it is too thick, add about 1/4 cup of water to it until it gets to the right thick saucy consistency. If it is too watery, take the rabbit pieces out and let the sauce cook uncovered over high heat until the sauce is the right consistency. It shouldn’t be too runny, nor too dry.
  6. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking, taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  7. Once the sauce is cooked, pour it over the rabbit and garnish with the olives and the extra rosemary.
  8. Serve it with toasted crusty bread or garlic bread to dip into the delicious sauce. You can also serve the rabbit over a bed of polenta or boiled rice instead of with the bread.