Coniglio All’ Ischitana
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Credit: Costanzo Astarita, Chef, Baraonda Ristorante, Atlanta
The National Culinary Review, June 2014
2 whole fresh rabbits
½ cup virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
4 Calabrian hot peppers
Salt and pepper, for seasoning
2 lbs. ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup white wine
3½ T. red wine vinegar
Rabbit heart and liver, finely chopped
2 T. coarsely chopped marjoram/thyme/basil
7 T. chopped Cerignola olives (pits removed)
4 cups dark rabbit stock
1. Place whole rabbit on chopping block. Cut away belly flap; remove and reserve liver and heart. Discard kidneys. Cut rabbit in six pieces: two hindquarters, two forequarters and a split loin. Make stock from trimmings.
2. Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat about 3 minutes. Add garlic and peppers; cook until garlic is golden-brown. Remove; set aside.
3. Pat rabbit dry with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Add to Dutch oven in batches (do not crowd). Brown evenly on all sides; drain on paper towels.
4. Add quartered tomatoes to pot; cook down 6-8 minutes. Add wine and vinegar; add chopped heart and liver. Stir to combine. Return rabbit pieces to pot; add herbs, olives and garlic/peppers. Add just enough rabbit stock to cover; cook on low heat 40-45 minutes. Check often. If dry, add more stock in small amounts as needed to keep meat from sticking. (End product should have a little sauce.)
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