A more apt name would be Drunken Rabbit, because there is so much wine, Cognac and port. But prunes it is, and they do play a vital part, adding a pleasant sweetness to the rich, velvety sauce and salty bacon lardons. Serve it with fresh pasta tossed in butter – tagliatelle is ideal. Chicken can be substituted for the rabbit, but don’t cook it for as long.
- 1 rabbit, cut into 7–8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 30g unsalted butter
- 2 onions, halved and sliced
- 200g bacon lardons
- About 100g plain flour
- 125 ml port
- 400g plump prunes, preferably French
- 1 tablespoon crème fraîche
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Tagliatelle, to serve
For the marinade
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 750-ml bottle red wine
- 250 ml Cognac
- A few black or green peppercorns
- A large flame-proof casserole
1One day before serving, mix all the marinade ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Add the rabbit pieces, cover and refrigerate overnight.
2When ready to cook, remove the rabbit from the marinade, strain the liquid and reserve. Discard all the vegetables but keep the thyme and bay leaf. Pat the rabbit pieces dry with kitchen paper.
3Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and half the butter in a large flame-proof casserole. Add the onions and bacon lardons and cook over high heat for 5 minutes, until brown. Remove from the casserole and set aside.
4Put the flour on a plate and add the rabbit pieces, turning to coat lightly. Add the remaining oil and butter to the casserole and heat. When sizzling, put the rabbit pieces in the casserole and brown all over. Pour in the strained marinating liquid, bacon and onion mixture and port. Add the reserved thyme and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, skim off the foam, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Season to taste.
5Transfer the rabbit pieces to a plate, add the prunes, increase the heat and cook the sauce for 10–15 minutes more, until thickened. Stir in the crème fraîche, return the rabbit to the casserole and heat just to warm through; do not boil. Serve immediately with tagliatelle.
Recipe taken from our sister magazine France Today.