Stewed Rabbit in White Wine (Marcella Hazan)

The method here is very straightforward. The rabbit is stewed in practically nothing but its own juices and then simmered in white wine with a little rosemary and a touch of tomato. It’s a familiar northern Italian approach which draws out the delicate flavour of the rabbit while also maintaining its fine texture. It’s best to use farmed rabbit as it’s a softer meat than wild rabbit, which is more gamey.

Serves 6

8 tbsp olive oil
1 small celery stick, finely diced
1 garlic clove, peeled
1.3-1.6kg farmed rabbit, sliced
150ml white wine
A sprig of fresh rosemary
1 stock cube
2 tbsp tomato puree
¼ tsp sugar
150ml warm water
Salt and black pepper

1 If you’re using fresh rabbit rather than frozen, soak it in cold water for 12 hours or more and then rinse several times and pat dry. It can be refrigerated while it’s soaking.

2 Choose a deep, covered frying pan large enough to contain all the meat in a single layer. Add the oil, celery, garlic and rabbit. Cover and cook over a low heat for 2 hours. Turn the meat a few times, but do not leave uncovered.

3 After 2 hours, you will find that the rabbit has shed a great deal of liquid. Uncover the pan, turn up the heat to medium and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, turning the meat from time to time.

4 Add the wine, rosemary, salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, until the wine has completely evaporated.

5 Dissolve the stock cube, tomato puree and sugar in 150ml of warm water, pour it over the rabbit and cook gently for another 12-15 minutes, turning and basting the rabbit two or three times. Serve immediately.

• From The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan


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