1large rabbit (about 1.5kg), jointed (see note)400 mlred wine1 tbspred wine vinegar70 mlolive oil12small pickling onions100 gmpiece of bacon, thickly sliced4garlic cloves, finely chopped1 tbspmembrillo (see note)1 tbspfinely grated dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids)12prunesFarcelettes4 eachthyme sprigs, flat-leaf parsley stalks and oregano stalks1cinnamon quill4fresh bay leaves
Combine rabbit, wine and vinegar in a non-reactive container and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
Preheat oven to 180C. For farcelettes, roll herbs and cinnamon in bay leaves and secure with kitchen string, set aside.
Heat oil in a casserole over medium heat. Drain rabbit well (reserve marinade), then pat dry with absorbent paper and fry in batches, turning occasionally, until golden (2-4 minutes each side), set aside. Add onions and bacon to pan and sauté until golden (3-5 minutes). Add garlic, membrillo, chocolate, farcelettes, marinade liquid and 250ml water and bring to a simmer. Return rabbit to casserole and bake, covered, for 45 minutes, then add prunes and cook until rabbit is tender (30 minutes). Serve hot.
Note Rabbit may need to be ordered ahead; ask
your butcher to joint it for you. Membrillo is Spanish quince
paste. If unavailable, substitute regular quince paste.
Being perched on the coast, it's little wonder the people of
the Basque country are fond of seafood. But this unique region also
boasts mountainous areas which are full of rustic shepherds' fare
such as this dish. Farcelettes are the Spanish version of bouquet
garni - instead of being wrapped in muslin, the herbs are bundled
and rolled in bay leaves like a cigar. The herbs and cinnamon add a
nice mulled flavour and depth, while the chocolate, prunes and
membrillo add even more density. Serve the rabbit with patatas
bravas to continue the Spanish theme, or another potato side of
your choice. You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.