Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs
When I saw rabbit in my local HEB grocery's freezer section I had to try this recipe. The recipe calls for whole rabbits and that's the way I'm submitting this, but the frozen rabbit pieces I bought worked just as well. This is best prepared a day ahead of serving to allow the flavors to mellow. The Tuscan sauce is excellent over pasta, so you may want to make a double batch of that. I served the rabbit with my recipe for Creamy Polenta with Green Onions and Parsley. Recipe originally from a November 1984 issue of Bon Appetit, featured in a Tuscan Dinner for 8. Prep time does not include marinating or refrigeration time.
tuscan tomato sauce
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 1 1⁄3 cups onions, minced
- 3⁄4 cup carrot, peeled and minced
- 3⁄4 cup celery, minced
- 1⁄4 cup Italian parsley, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced (or 1 t. dried, crumbled)
- 42 ounces canned Italian plum tomatoes, half the liquid drained
- 2 (3 lb) rabbits
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 6 bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 inches fresh rosemary sprigs (or 1/4 t. dried, crumbled)
- 1⁄8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
- For Sauce.
- Heat oil in heavy 4-quart nonaluminum saucepan over medium heat.
- Add onion,carrot,celery and parsley and brown, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes.
- Add garlic and basil and cook 15 seconds.
- Mix in tomatoes.
- Reduce heat and simmer until reduced and thick,stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
- Can be prepared 3 days ahead and refrigerated.
- For Rabbit.
- Remove long loin piece on each side of backbone by cutting between meat and bone with sharp knife.
- Halve each loin crosswise;cut off remaining meat from bones.
- Put rabbit meat in large bowl; mix in wine,bay leaves,garlic, rosemary, pepper and cloves.
- Marinate at least 5 hours at cool room temperature or overnight in refrigerator, turning occasionally.
- Remove rabbit from marinade and pat dry;reserve marinade.
- Heat oil in nonaluminum heavy large skillet over medium heat.
- Add pancetta and brown, stirring frequently.
- Remove, using a slotted spoon.
- Add rabbit loins to skillet and sear on all sides; do not brown.
- Cool and refrigerate.
- Brown remaining rabbit meat over medium heat in batches(do not crowd).
- Transfer to heavy 5-quart saucepan, using a slotted spoon.
- Pour off all but 3 tablespoonfuls fat from skillet.
- Add pancetta to skillet and stir over medium heat 2 minutes;pour in marinade.
- Simmer until reduced to thick syrup, scraping up any browned bits, about 25 minutes.
- Pour over rabbit meat (keep loin refrigerated).
- Stir in tomato sauce;cover partially and simmer gently until rabbit meat is tender, about 25 minutes;cool.
- Refrigerate tomato mixture overnight(can be prepared 2 days ahead).
- Bring tomato mixture to a simmer;stir in loin pieces and simmer until tender, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.
- Discard bay leaves and fresh rosemary.
- Transfer rabbit mixture to platter.
- Serve immediately with polenta or pasta.