For this slow-cooked Croatian rabbit dish you can use farmed or wild rabbit. If you are buying wild rabbit make sure it is not too large as older rabbits can be tough and have less flavour.
- 200 ml white vinegar
- 2.5 kg (about 2) rabbits or 1 x 2 kg rabbit, each cut into 4 pieces
- 5 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
- 8 slices pancetta
- 125 ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 200 ml prošek (Croatian dessert wine) or white wine
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 sage sprig
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra, to serve
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
- 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- mashed potato, to serve
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.
Marinating time 4 hours or overnight (if using one 2 kg rabbit)
Drink 2008 Vinarija Dingac Plavac Mali 'Postup’ Dalmatia, Croatia
Combine vinegar and 500 ml water in a large bowl. Add rabbit, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, to tenderise meat (if using 1 x 2 kg rabbit you will need to marinade it overnight.)
Drain, then rinse rabbit and pat dry with paper towel.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Using a small knife, make several incisions into rabbit and insert a slice of garlic into each one. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap a slice of pancetta around each piece of rabbit.
Place rabbit in a roasting pan, pour over 100ml oil and the prošek, and roast for 30 minutes or until starting to brown.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1¼ tbsp oil in a pan over medium heat. Add carrot and onion, and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes or until golden. Add herbs, lemon juice, stock and sugar, and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
Pour the stock mixture over rabbit, reduce heat to 180°C and roast for a further hour or until rabbit is tender. Season, scatter with extra parsley and serve with mashed potato.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 13, pg97.
Photography by Derek Swalwell