The same recipe can be used for hare, with excellent results, by increasing quantities of other ingredients, since hare is much heavier than rabbit. Rabbit or hare should be treated in exactly the same preparatory way, i.e., being soaked in vinegar. (This only applies to wild varieties.) Served with fried potatoes on the side, this is a piquant dish, or if you prefer a milder taste to counterbalance the richness of the rabbit, serve with plain while rice. A green salad is always welcomed as it adds a refreshing note.
Rinse the rabbit pieces and put them in a salad bowl with the bay leaves. Sprinkle the vinegar over the pieces and let them marinate for at least 2 hours or preferably in the fridge overnight. Heat half of the olive oil in a saucepan, pat the rabbit pieces dry and fry them in it until they are quite brown on both sides. Take out and put on to a plate. When all the rabbit pieces have been fried, put them back into the saucepan along with the garlic cloves, bay leaves, spices, rosemary and the wine. Then add the tomato puree or tomatoes, sugar and the hot water. Season, cover and cook for about 1 hour. In the meantime, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions. Stir them occasionally, in order to make sure they turn golden all over, for about 15 minutes. Add the contents of the frying pan to the saucepan, and shake it so that the onions spread evenly. Then cover and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Serve with fried potatoes or plain white rice and a green salad.