Over the last few years when travelling in Tuscany I have been tempted on a few occasions to buy and cook a rabbit, Italian style. Only having the Mini BGE with us I have been reluctant, as casseroling on a 10 inch Kamado never seemed quite possible (I have not found a casserole dish small enough to fit – yet!!)! As we can’t travel to Tuscany at the moment, it does mean we have access to a greater range of BGEs at home. All we needed therefore was the rabbit and a recipe or 2 to play with!! Today we had both – so here we go!
The recipe is based on one of Anna Del Conte’s recipes from her classic book The Gastronomy of Italy (a birthday present for my last ‘significant’ birthday). Del Conte’s recipe was itself based on a classic from La Cucina d’Ora – a ‘tome and a half’ with more than 1500 classic regional recipes, published in corporation with the Accademia Italiana della Cucina. A variation of the recipe also appears in ‘La Cuchina – The regional cooking of Italy’ in the section from Piedmont in the Northwest of Italy (but without the anchovies!).
The BGE was set up for direct cooking and allowed to stabilise at around 180C. Whilst waiting we portioned the rabbit into the 4 limbs – the loin was also portioned into 4 pieces (there are lots of You Tube videos demonstrating this, or you can ask your butcher).
In many ways it would be easier to cook this dish in the large BGE as you could have 2 pans on the heat at the same time. Despite this we elected to cook on the MiniMax just to see how it would go. If you can cook it on a small BGE, you can always cook it in a larger one!
Half the butter and a similar volume of olive oil was added with the rosemary. The hot oil quickly absorbs the essential oils from the rosemary.
The Bay leaf and the rabbit pieces were added and the rabbit browned on all sides. When all were nicely brown add the stock and cook for around 20 minutes. The casserole was moved from the BGE, the cooking continuing with the stored heat from the pan.
A second pan was put in the MiniMax to heat up. The remaining butter and a similar volume of olive oil was added to the pan with the anchovy fillets. The anchovies quickly become a mush which thickens the oil. This is just the time to add the garlic and the pepper strips. The original recipe uses yellow peppers – but we had red ones, and I think they look great! They were seasoned with pepper, but not salt as the anchovies were already salty. The peppers were cooked for around 5 minutes then the vinegar was added and stirred through. They were then cooked for a further 10 minutes until they softened a little, stirring regularly.
The pepper mixture was added to the casserole with the rabbit and the casserole was returned to the BGE. The air vents were shut back to allow the temperature to fall a little. The dish was cooked for another 30 minutes turning the pieces 2 or three times in this period. (You could probably reduce this to around 20 minutes with a farmed rabbit).
All that was left to do was to plate up. We sat the rabbit on a small piece of sourdough to absorb the rich sauce and served with steamed broccoli. We served one large hind leg and a piece of loin each and saved the rest for a second rabbit dish which we will publish soon.
…………………………………. do give it a go!
Footnote: Most of today’s chicken recipes started their lives as rabbit recipes – so in a ‘turn about’ this recipe would work well with chicken instead of rabbit!!
A whole rabbit is enough for 4 people – but as there are just 2 of us we used the second part of this casseroles the basis of another simple dish – link here
Italian rabbit with red peppers
A great roasted and casseroled rabbit dish from the heart of Italy cooked with red peppers and enriched with anchovies - an Italian classic
- One rabbit (about 1Kg)
- 5 tbs olive oil
- 50g butter
- 1 tbs rosemary leaves
- 1 Bay leaf
- 100 ml of stock
- 6-8 canned anchovies fillets
- 2 garlic clove - chopped
- 3 red peppers deseeded and cut into strips
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp wine vinegar
- Step 1 Set up the Big Green Egg for direct cooking and allowed to stabilise at around 180C. Whilst waiting portion the rabbit into the 4 limbs and portion the loin into 2 or 4 pieces – or get your butcher to do this
- Step 2 Add half the butter and a similar volume of oil to a casserole dish and add the rosemary. Cook for a minute to allow the oils to absorb the rosemary essential oils. Add the Bayleaf and the rabbit pieces. Brown the rabbit well on all sides then add the stock and cook for around 20 minutes before removing the pan from the EGG.
- Step 3 Add a second pan to the BGE and heat. Add the remaining butter and oil along with the anchovy fillets. The anchovies quickly become a mush which thickens the oil. Add the garlic and the pepper strips. Season with pepper, but not salt as the anchovies were already salty. Cook for around 5 minutes then add the vinegar and stir. Cook for a further 10 minutes until they soften a little, stirring regularly.
- Step 4 Add the pepper mixture to the casserole with the rabbit and return the casserole to the BGE. Close the air vents to a small opening to allow the temperature to fall a little. Cook for a further 30 minutes turning the pieces 2 or three times in this period. (You could probably reduce this to around 20 minutes with a farmed rabbit). Check the seasoning and see if any salt in particular is required
- Step 5 Plate up the dish – it is worth sitting the rabbit on a small piece of bread to absorb the rich sauce