Rabbit With Anchovies and Capers

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I have no idea how the rabbit got involved with Easter, but whatever the reason, my feeling is eat it. It can be cooked in a hundred different ways, it has hardly any fat, the flesh is delectable and the following receipt has the surprising addition of anchovies and is very good indeed.

Ingredients

  • 1.8 kg/4 lb rabbit pieces
  • 4 salted anchovies, or 8 anchovy fillets in oil
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 600 ml/1 pint dry white wine, or 300 ml/½ pint each dry vermouth and water
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 stick of celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 bayleaves
  • fresh rosemary and parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 55 g/2 oz seasoned plain flour
  • 1 fresh hot red or green chilli, chopped and pounded
  • 85 g/3 oz capers

Method

Put the salted anchovies into a bowl of water to soak for 20 minutes, then remove the bones and leave to dry on paper towel. Marinate the rabbit pieces in a mixture of 3 tbsp of the olive oil, the wine, lemon juice, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, the vegetables, herbs and crushed parsley, and a seasoning of salt and black pepper. Leave for 6 hours at least or overnight.

Take the rabbit out of the marinade, pat dry with a cloth or paper towel and toss each piece in seasoned flour. Heat the remaining oil in a good heavy frying pan. When hot throw in the pounded chilli and then brown the rabbit pieces briskly. Place the rabbit in an iron casserole. Pour the marinade into the hot frying pan, bring rapidly to the boil and transfer to the casserole. Cook in a preheated oven at 170°C/325°F/Gas 3 for 45 minutes to 1 hour (pierce for tenderness).

Chop up the anchovies, capers and the remaining garlic and simmer in 150 ml/¼ pint of the liquid from the rabbit for 10 minutes. Add this to the casserole for a final amalgamation. Check seasoning and serve sprinkled with a good handful of chopped parsley. Some boiled new potatoes or fresh noodles are a good accompaniment to the dish.

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