As the weather cools, I start reaching for my warm cardi and slow cooking recipe books. Whilst this recipe isn't a slow-cook recipe per se, I was inspired when chatting to the goodly folk at Oaklands Produce who sell sustainably reared meat at the Bondi Junction Village Markets. Amongst their fantastic produce for sale are whole, farmed rabbits. A customer ordered a rabbit last week and I realised I had never bought and cooked an Oaklands Produce rabbit. Quel horreur!
Customers at markets are an invaluable source of inspiration and information. Not only did this gentleman inspire me to cook the said bunny, but to make a rabbit cacciatore. Perfect for a Sydney autumnal day!!
I googled "Rabbit Cacciatore" and found a recipe at www.simplyrecipes.com. And here it is, with my alterations (of course)
1 whole rabbit, cut into 6-8 pieces
Salt & freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons fresh oregano (the recipe called for thyme but I didn't have any so used the oregano from the garden)
1 teaspoon rosemary (I didn't have any of this so didn't use it)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
3 cups very ripe tomatoes (or 1.5 cans tinned roma tomatoes)
2 red capsicum, seeded & cut into 2cm cubes
1 bay leaf
16 kalamata olives
Sprinkle rabbit pieces generously with salt and pepper, rub half of the oregano leaves into the pieces, then sprinkle with flour to lightly coat. Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium high. Place the rabbit pieces in the pan in a single layer. Don't move them. Cook for 2-3 mins on one side until lightly browned then turn and cook for another few minutes. Remove the rabbit pieces and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and add the onions, cook for a minute and then add the garlic, capsicum and mushies and cook for a couple of minutes more. Add more oregano.
Pop rabbit pieces back into the pan.
Cover with tomatoes and the bay leaf. I also added some water here, feel free to do the same. Cover the pan and cook for 35 minutes.
Uncover the pan, add olives. Increase heat to high and cook to boil of excess moisture and reduce the sauce. When the liquid has reduced by half, check the seasoning and add more if necessary. remove from heat & serve.
This was delicious served with brown rice & snow peas but I think this would be much better served with a garlic mash & green beans. I think next time I'll experiment and cook the rabbit for a few hours to see if the meat will fall off the bone. I do love a casserole where the meat does that, like magic. Yummy.
Oaklands Produce can be found at the Bondi Junction Village Markets each Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 9am - 5pm