Country Style Oven-Braised Rabbit

  • 1 rabbit, about 2-1/2  pounds, cut into 6 serving pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 branch fresh rosemary, needles only, finely chopped
  • 2 branches fresh sage, leaves only, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 fresh ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry vin santo or dry white wine
Preheat oven to 425° F. Place rabbit pieces in a dry pan, cover tightly and set over medium heat for about 10 minutes. The rabbit will give off a good deal of liquid. Remove the rabbit pieces from the pan, and set aside; discard the liquid.

While the rabbit is cooking, mince together the garlic, rosemary, sage and onion. Return the pan to medium-low heat with the olive oil and butter. As soon as the butter sizzles, add the minced garlic, herbs and onions. Saute very gently until soft but not brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, and stir to mix well. Raise the heat to medium, and let cook 8 to 10 minutes to meld the flavors.

Add the rabbit pieces to the pan, piling the tomato sauce on top. Pour over the stock and wine and, as soon as the liquid comes to a boil, cover the pan and set in the heated oven. Bake 30 minutes; then, uncover the pan, turn the heat down to 350 degrees and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the rabbit meat is very tender. If the sauce is still very liquid, remove the rabbit pieces to a serving dish and boil down the juices rapidly over medium-high heat to concentrate in a thick sauce. Spoon the pan juices over the meat, and set aside 20 to 30 minutes to cool slightly before serving.

Yield: 6 servings
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Note: The rabbit may be prepared early in the day and served later; if you must refrigerate it, it should be heated at least to room temperature before serving. Chicken can be substituted for rabbit, but in that case, Step 2 should be omitted.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 365 calories, 20 grams fat, 115 milligrams cholesterol, 85 milligrams sodium, 40 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrate.