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Rabbit with green olives

First catch your rabbit or wild duck, gather some herbs and go wandering across the fields for mushrooms before slow-cooking this delicious midwinter feast for six or more.

There are many versions of this classic country dish. You can use farmed rabbit or hunt your own. We used a Whole Wild Rabbit from Moreish.

“Rabbit is a favourite meat of mine. The farmed variety is readily available these days, but if you’re lucky enough to have a source of wild rabbit, this dish will be even better.” 
– Claire Aldous, Food Editor at Dish magazine 

1 fresh rabbit, cut into 6-8 serving pieces 
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp flour
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme and flat-leaf parsley)
1 cup green olives, pitted
2 1⁄2 cups dry white wine (we used Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc)
1 x 400g tin tomatoes, crushed (we used Ceres Chopped Tomatoes)

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

If your rabbit is already cut into pieces, this will include a saddle piece, which has two flaps that previously encircled the rabbit’s ribcage. Take the saddle and tie the flaps together with string, to secure them together. This ensures the saddle remains tender.

Season all the pieces liberally with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Heat the oil in a deep-sided sauté pan over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the rabbit, without crowding the pan, and sauté gently, turning the pieces to ensure each is thoroughly browned. Remember rabbit meat has no skin to protect it.

Continue until all of the rabbit is browned and transfer the pieces to a plate. Add the onions to the pan and cook until soft. Sprinkle on the flour and stir to make a paste. Slowly whisk in the wine.

Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, herbs and olives and stir to combine. Add the rabbit and any juices back to the pan. Cover the sauté pan (or transfer to a casserole dish) and put in oven for 2-3 hours, until rabbit is tender. If necessary, this dish
can be prepared ahead and reheated.

Before serving, check if cooking juices are too thin. If so, remove rabbit, cover and keep warm, and reduce juices in a pan on the stovetop before adding back to the tender rabbit meat.

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