"This is an amazing dish," says Tsaples. "You'll discover many layers of flavour - from sweet to savoury, spicy to aromatic. My dad would yearn for my mother's rendition of this dish. He really didn't care whether it was rabbit or beef so long as she cooked it."
- 250 ml red wine
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 4-5 allspice berries
- 1 rabbit, jointed
- 80 ml olive oil (1/3 cup)
- 500 gm baby pickling onions (12)
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tbsp tomato purée, diluted in 1 tbsp water
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 1Combine red wine, red wine vinegar, bay leaves and allspice berries in a casserole, and marinate the rabbit pieces overnight, turning frequently.
- 2The next day, take the rabbit pieces out. Pat dry and set the marinade aside.
- 3In a shallow non-stick frying pan, gently brown the rabbit in 1 tbsp oil and place in a casserole.
- 4Preheat oven to 175C. Wipe frying pan clean, then heat remaining oil. Add the pickling onions, which have been peeled and left whole, and gently brown them. Add sugar to the pan and caramelise.
- 5Assemble the onions around the rabbit pieces in the casserole, pour in the reserved marinade, and add garlic, tomato purée and cinnamon quill, then season to taste. Cover and braise in oven until rabbit and onions are tender and cooked through (1-1½ hours).
- 6Take the casserole out. Check the rabbit pieces to ensure they have cooked. If they have and a large amount of marinade remains, remove the rabbit from the pan, set aside, then reduce liquid over medium-high heat until a glossy, syrupy sauce forms (4-6 minutes). Return rabbit to pan to warm through and serve.
- 7Enjoy this rich dish on a bed of mashed potatoes or simply with bread.
Note This recipe is from Sweet Greek: Simple Food & Sumptuous Feasts ($39.95), published by Melbourne Books, and has been edited.