Saturday, 9 February 2013

Hopping back Home!

Coniglio Siciliano allo Zibibbo
Sicilian Rabbit in "Zibibbo" Wine

This evening's supper was a new, improved version of a dish I put together for my parents and my sister back in Sicily whilst visiting this past Christmas. I myself, had tasted something similar on a previous visit in September- and wanted to share it with them... but of course this new dish I made to share with all of you! So I hope you like it!

The original dish was a simple affair- rabbit with onion, carrot, celery, green olives, capers and white wine. A little garlic and rosemary, but little else... and still- totally delicious! That is the great thing about Sicilian food- the combinations just work! When I made it at Christmas, I used black olives (because we had no green), used Marsala instead of white wine and added thyme and cinnamon to up the flavor stakes... and it was pretty delicious! If mom and dad liked it- it was good!

So how did I prepare my yummy bunny? I started off by sprinkling the rabbit very lightly in flour and frying it briefly in olive oil from both sides at a relatively high heat, in oder to get it slightly browned. Whilst that was happening, I quickly sliced a small carrot, a stick of celery an onion and added them into the frying pan. I stirred them in well and seasoned with salt and pepper, then added rosemary, thyme, crushed garlic, cinnamon, a little coriander powder, a little paprika powder and a squeeze of lemon juice. 

I stirred everything together well and then deglazed the frying pan with a good splash of Zibibbo, which is an amber colored Sicilian dessert wine. You could also use Marsala for this, as I did at Christmas or any other white wine you may have at hand. I stirred everything together to make sure all of the good flavors came up from the bottom of the pan and then topped up the liquid with some boiling water- enough to cover the bottom of the frying pan and to keep all of the ingredients nice and juicy. And then in went a couple of bay leaves, on went the lid and down went the temperature!

I let the bunny simmer away for 40 minutes or so, after which time it was tender but not quite ready, and the juices and wine had reduced down nicely. And then I added a handful of white seedless grapes which I cut in half- these would add more juice and a pleasant sweetness into the whole affair! I added a little more Zibibbo, a little more rosemary and thyme and some coarsely ground black pepper, as well as a few black olives, which I sliced so that the flavor would be spread better. I tasted the sauce in order to be sure it was ok for salt, added a little olive oil over the meat... and when I was happy with everything, popped the lid back on and gave it a final 15-20 minutes.

Let me tell you dear friends that this is one wonderful recipe, full of flavor and good, wholesome cooking in an old school way... but hip! You're going to like it- and so are your guests! Buon apetito and enjoy!

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