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Rabbit in chocolate sauce

On cold and chilly evenings, what you are looking for is something hearty and packed with flavour. Gaby Holland's rabbit in chocolate sauce fits the bill in every which way. 

Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 1 large rabbit, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ cups plain flour  
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups red wine
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium-sized leek, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 large stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thickly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1tbsp red peppercorns or juniper berries
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chicken stock (recipe below)
  • 2 cups (or more) port or full bodied red wine
  • 1 tbsp kunserva (tomato concentrate)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp chilli chocolate (use plain if preferred), finely grated
  • ¼ cup pine nuts or slivered almonds


Method
  1. Marinate the rabbit in red wine for a least a couple of hours. 
  2. Drain and pat dry.
  3. Pour the flour and seasoning into a sealable plastic bag and place a few pieces of rabbit at a time to coat evenly with a light dusting of flour.  Shake off excess flour.
  4. Heat some olive oil and fry the rabbit pieces in batches until lightly browned.
  5. Set aside and, using the same frying pan, lightly brown the vegetables.
  6. Layer the rabbit and vegetables together with the rest of the spices in an  oven proof dish with a tight-fitting lid. (Ideally use one made of cast-iron).
  7. Mix the wet ingredients together with the grated chocolate and honey and pour all over the rabbit and vegetables.
  8. Tuck the bay leaves and cinnamon stick around the rabbit.
  9. Place the dish in a hot oven 180°C and cook for around 1½ hours or until rabbit is tender and sauce has reduced and thickened.
  10. Toast the pine nuts until they are golden brown and scatter over the rabbit before serving.


This recipe first appeared on Gourmet Today, March, 2016.

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