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Braised Rabbit in Tuscan Sauce

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“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.”
2hrs 30mins

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. For Sauce.
  2. Heat oil in heavy 4-quart nonaluminum saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add onion,carrot,celery and parsley and brown, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and basil and cook 15 seconds.
  5. Mix in tomatoes.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced and thick,stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  7. Can be prepared 3 days ahead and refrigerated.
  8. For Rabbit.
  9. Remove long loin piece on each side of backbone by cutting between meat and bone with sharp knife.
  10. Halve each loin crosswise;cut off remaining meat from bones.
  11. Put rabbit meat in large bowl; mix in wine,bay leaves,garlic, rosemary, pepper and cloves.
  12. Marinate at least 5 hours at cool room temperature or overnight in refrigerator, turning occasionally.
  13. Remove rabbit from marinade and pat dry;reserve marinade.
  14. Heat oil in nonaluminum heavy large skillet over medium heat.
  15. Add pancetta and brown, stirring frequently.
  16. Remove, using a slotted spoon.
  17. Add rabbit loins to skillet and sear on all sides; do not brown.
  18. Cool and refrigerate.
  19. Brown remaining rabbit meat over medium heat in batches(do not crowd).
  20. Transfer to heavy 5-quart saucepan, using a slotted spoon.
  21. Pour off all but 3 tablespoonfuls fat from skillet.
  22. Add pancetta to skillet and stir over medium heat 2 minutes;pour in marinade.
  23. Simmer until reduced to thick syrup, scraping up any browned bits, about 25 minutes.
  24. Pour over rabbit meat (keep loin refrigerated).
  25. Stir in tomato sauce;cover partially and simmer gently until rabbit meat is tender, about 25 minutes;cool.
  26. Refrigerate tomato mixture overnight(can be prepared 2 days ahead).
  27. Bring tomato mixture to a simmer;stir in loin pieces and simmer until tender, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.
  28. Discard bay leaves and fresh rosemary.
  29. Transfer rabbit mixture to platter.
  30. Serve immediately with polenta or pasta.

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