Agrodolce is a traditional sweet sour sauce believed to have originated in Sicily. While the exact ingredients of this reduction vary between regions, it commonly includes vinegar, sugar, wine, raisins and pine nuts, leading some to believe it has Arabic influences. Bitter chocolate is generally added to agrodolce dishes featuring rich game meat such as boar or rabbit, as we have featured here, but you can substitute chicken, if desired.
- 1 rabbit (see Note) (about 700 g), cut into 8 pieces (ask your butcher to do this for you)
- 75 g (½ cup) plain flour
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 20 g butter
- 150 g prosciutto, chopped
- 2 juniper berries (see Note)
- 5 black peppercorns
- 3 thyme sprigs, plus extra, to serve
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup golden raisins (see Note) or regular raisins
- 1 tbsp dried sour cherries (see Note)
- 40 g (¼ cup) pine nuts, toasted
- 25 g (¼ cup) walnuts, toasted, chopped
- 60 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
DRINK 2010 Pio Cesare Barbera d'Alba, Piedmont, Italy ($30)
Season rabbit with salt and pepper, toss in flour to coat and shake off excess. Heat oil in a large deep frying pan over high heat. Cook rabbit, turning, for 5 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.
Reduce heat to medium, add carrot, celery, onion, garlic and butter, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion is light golden. Add prosciutto, juniper berries, peppercorns and thyme, and cook for a further minute or until fragrant. Return rabbit to pan and add sugar, vinegar and 500 ml water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 45 minutes or until rabbit is tender.
Add raisins, cherries, nuts and chocolate, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until chocolate is melted and sauce is slightly reduced. Season and top with extra thyme sprigs to serve.
• Rabbit is available from selected supermarkets and butchers.
• Juniper berries are available from selected supermarkets and delis.
• Golden raisins are available from Middle Eastern food shops.
• Dried sour cherries are from selected delis.
Also written by Wendy Quisumbing and Peta Gray. Photography by John Laurie. Drinks suggestions by Dan Coward.