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Coniglio al Forno con Finoccio

Roasted Rabbit with Fennel
The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food by Lynn Rossetto Kasper

2 1/2-2 3/4 lb rabbit, cut into 8 pieces

Seasoning the Rabbit
1 large clove of garlic (I used 4)
1 1/2 inch sprig of rosemary (I used 4)
1/2 t. salt (I'm sure I used a t. of sea salt)
1/8 t. pepper (you got it)

Cooking the Rabbit
2 bulbs fennel cut into 1 1/2 " wedges (I used one huge one)
1 large onion, cut into 1 1/2 " wedges
3 oz. pancetta, minced
3 cloves of garlic, split
1 t. fennel seeds
1/2 c. coarsely chopped fennel leaves
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 c. white wine

Pan Sauce
1/4 c. white wine
1/2 c. chicken stock

The rabbit tastes best when seasoned one day ahead. I blended the first four ingredients in the food processor with a drizzle of olive oil to make a paste. Rub on the rabbit pieces, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

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Two hours and 15 minutes before you would like to eat, preheat the oven to 350. use a roasting pan or baking dish large enough to hold the rabbit pieces and onions and fennel. Scatter fennel, onion, pancetta, garlic, and fennel seeds around and between the pieces, and put half the fennel leaves on top. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast 30 minutes.

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Add wine, and roast for another hour. Baste every 15 minutes with pan juices. If pan becomes too dry, add a little more wine or water. (Mine was nice and juicy.)

Raise the heat to 450. Cook 15 more minutes until rabbit becomes golden brown. Turn rabbit pieces, and roast another 15 minutes, basting once more. Veggies should be caramelized.

Transfer rabbit and vegetables to a heated platter and keep warm in the oven while you make a quick pan sauce. Set the roasting pan over two burners on high heat, and deglaze with the wine and stock. Scrape any brown pieces from pan and boil down liquid to about half. (Be careful of heat level if you are using a pyrex pan). Deglaze for 3-5 minutes. Scatter remaining fennel leaves over rabbit and serve sauce in gravy boat or bowl alongside rabbit.

I have wanted to cook a rabbit for years. We occasionally ate one when I was a child, and I have eaten coniglio countless times when in Italy. I have tasted several different variations in different regions of Italy. I recently found out that Bristol Farms has fresh rabbits on once a week. Brad and I stopped there, and he said, "I'll buy you a bunny to cook." I asked the butcher to cut it up for me, because i was slightly squeemish. There are dozens of bunnies in our neighborhood eating everyone's flowers. Not a day goes by that I don't see a rabbit on my front lawn. I am OK with the idea of eating the CONIGLIO raised for food. But I didn't want to be butchering a bunny in the kitchen with its cousins scampering across my patio. I figured, if the butcher cut it for me, it would look like chicken pieces, right?

They say timing is everything. The night we brought the CONIGLIO home from Bristol Farms, unfortunately there was a rather disgusting rabbit roadkill in front of the house next door. UGH! The scents of the roasted rabbit, caramelized onion and fennel and wine filled the kitchen. It was all worth it. FABULOUS.

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Comments (11)

nancyhol:

My father raised rabbits while I was growing up, so we ate a lot of it. Since then, though, I don't think I have had any. Guess it's time to give it a try again. Your recipe sounds delicious!

Ida:

Looks fabulous!!! I'll have to try this.

You will love that cookbook. I got it when it came out and then it travelled here with me (funny we turned up in E-R)
Great shots, Palma

Delicious - I love rabbit. We rarely see them in the store but when I do . . .

That rabbit looks Wonderful! I love rabbit, but never see it for sale here. I cooked it once, but it was one my husband shot (out in the wild when we lived in Mo, not a neighborhood bunny). I did not enjoy cutting it up either. I'm going to have to hunt to see if I can find them anywhere-I can't wait to try this recipe.

The first time I ever ate rabbit was in Italy. It is very tasty. I just try not to think about what I am actually eating. I would have also asked him to cut up the rabbit for me. Your rabbit dish looks yummy!

I've been making this recipe for years (using chicken thighs) after taking a cooking class with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Now I'll have yo go and find rabbit!

I'm so excited! I found a meat market yesterday that carries rabbit. They are frozen, and whole, so I'll have to cut it up, but it was reasonably priced. I can't wait to make this recipe. My birthday is Sunday, and we were going to go out for dinner Saturday night, but I'm tempted to stay in and make it for our dinner.

Palma:

Cindy,

I'm sure you will like it! Let me know how it turns out. I have another recipe I'm dying to try with butter, rosemary, and lots of garlic. Maybe next month.

Palma-I'll let you know when I make it. I'm sure it will be great. I bought 2 rabbits. The other one I'm going to make a recipe from Michael Chiarellos' book-"Tra Vigne". I've eaten the dish at the restaurant before, and love it. You can reduce it how ever much you want, but it's cooked with onion, celery and carrot, with wine, broth, etc. That's strained, and later it's cooked with winter vegetables(I think rutabaga, parsnip, and fennel). I had it served over pasta. YUM! If it turns out, I'll post about it.

Palma-We had a couple over for dinner last night, and I made this dish. It was fabulour!!! I used 2 rabbits, since mine were under 2 pounds each. I used 3 fennel bulbs, and doubled everything else. I love roasted fennel, and the combination of everything here was just amazing. One of my guests called it a masterpiece. Unfortunatley, I was taken with the fragrance that I forgot to take photos. Darn.

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