Rabbit the Dalmatian way

Rabbit the Dalmatian way

Zec na dalmatinski

By
From
Dalmatia
Serves
4

I have countless childhood memories of rabbits and pheasants hanging in our konoba (the basement where food and wine were stored) and of my uncle cleaning his rifle after going hunting, then putting it back in place over the kitchen door until next time. I can remember my aunt and grandmother rolling makaruni na iglu (pasta rolled with a knitting needle), which goes extremely well with rabbit. I have given the recipe below, but you can use other pasta if you like.

Game is always served on special occasions and is a very delicate food – it takes lots of careful preparation to get it just right. For this dish you can use wild or farmed rabbit. If you are buying wild rabbit, make sure it is not too large as older rabbits are tough and have less flavour. You will need to leave wild rabbit to marinate for an extra day since the muscles are much tougher with very little fat. On the other hand, farmed rabbits are bred for eating and are sold at the best time for consumption.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 rabbit, approximately 2-3 kg
200ml vinegar
5 garlic cloves, sliced lengthways
100 grams pancetta, sliced
100ml extra virgin olive oil
200ml white wine
or prošek (dalmatian fortified wine) or port
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Makaruni

Quantity Ingredient
1kg plain flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
100 grams unsalted butter, softened
500ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
150to warm water

Sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 carrot, finely diced
1 brown onion, finely diced
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
juice of 2 lemons
500ml chicken stock
3 tablespoons sugar

Method

  1. Cut the rabbit into portion-sized pieces (about 8 cm) and leave to marinate overnight in the vinegar and 500 ml water, to allow the meat to soften.
  2. The next day, take the rabbit out of the marinade, wash it well with water then pat it dry with a clean tea towel.
  3. For the makaruni, mix the flour with the egg, egg yolk, softened butter, oil and salt in a bowl. Gradually add the warm water and knead the mixture into a smooth dough. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Cut the dough into small pieces, approximately the size of a broad bean or the tip of your finger. Roll them out with a bamboo stick or knitting needle into tubes. When rolled, they should be about 5–8 cm in length.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Pierce the rabbit and place the sliced garlic in the slits. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper and coat it with slices of pancetta. Lay the meat in a baking dish, pour the olive oil and white wine or prošek over it and roast for 30 minutes.
  5. While the rabbit is roasting, prepare the sauce. Sauté the carrot and onion in the olive oil in a frying pan over high heat for approximately 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, sage, pepper, parsley, lemon juice, chicken stock and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then pour the sauce over the rabbit. Reduce the heat to 180°C and roast for another hour.
  6. Serve the rabbit with the pasta.
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