Rabbit is an underutilized and often a difficult meat to find in the US. But if you can find it, it is worth trying. Mostly white meat similar to chicken – aren’t they all – it’s great for those looking for alternatives to red meat. This preparation is a tasty, easy one pot dish for which you could easily substitute chicken. Serve over pasta or with potatoes; you want something to soak up the yummy rich sauce.
Coniglio alla portoghese
Based on the recipe in La Cucina Sicilian by Alba Allotta
1 2½ lb rabbit – washed, dried and cut into serving pieces
1 cup Marsala wine (used ½ cup at a time)
Olive oil for sautéing
1 onion – chopped
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 T tomato paste – mixed in ½ cup of hot water
½ lb tomatoes – peeled, seeded and chopped (fresh or canned)
1 bay leaf
2 T chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the rabbit pieces in a bowl with ½ cup of Marsala wine, turning the pieces in the wine to coat them evenly. Let marinate for 30 minutes, turning the pieces from time to time. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven and brown the rabbit pieces over a high heat. Do this in batches to avoid crowding. Transfer the pieces to a platter and cover to keep warm. Heat more olive oil in the Dutch oven and sauté the onion over medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft and beginning to color. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add the second ½ cup of Marsala wine and loosen any bits of rabbit or onion that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Return the rabbit pieces to the pan along with the tomato paste mixed with water, tomatoes, bay leaf and parsley. Add a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of pepper. Simmer covered over low heat for about 40 minutes, adding a little hot water if necessary. Correct the seasoning and serve.