Rabbit Roasted with Sweet Fennel

Rabbit Roasted with Sweet Fennel

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Yield: 4 to 5 servings

2 1/2-2 3/4-pound rabbit, cut into 8 to 10 serving pieces
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2-inch sprig fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bulbs fresh fennel, cored, cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
1 large onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
3 ounces pancetta (unsmoked Italian bacon), minced
1 teaspoon fennel seed, coarsely ground
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fennel tops
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 vegetable broth
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock

1. The night before cooking, rinse and dry the rabbit pieces. Use a mortar and pestle or a knife on a cutting board to make a paste of 2 garlic cloves, the rosemary, salt and pepper. Rub the paste over the rabbit pieces. Put them on a plate, cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a shallow roasting pan large enough to hold the rabbit in a single layer, with space for the vegetables. Arrange the rabbit pieces in the pan. Dab the rabbit pieces with any seasoning rub that may have been left on the plate. Scatter the fennel, onion, pancetta, remaining 2 cloves garlic, fennel seed and half the fennel tops over the rabbit. Sprinkle with the olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Roast 30 minutes, basting often with the pan juices. Pour in 1/2 the broth and roast another 1 hour. Baste often, turning the pieces occasionally. Add a little water to the pan if the pan is dry.

3. Increase the heat to 450 degrees, cook until the rabbit is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Turn the rabbit and vegetable pieces and roast until golden on the other side, basting once with the pan juices, about 10 minutes.

4. Transfer the rabbit and vegetables to a heated platter and keep them warm in the turned off oven with the door open. Quickly make a pan sauce by setting the roasting pan over two stove burners turned to high. Add remaining 1/4 cup broth and the stock. Scrape up the brown glaze from the bottom of the roasting pan as the liquids boil down by about half, 3 to 5 minutes. Scatter the remaining fennel leaves over the rabbit. Pass the sauce with the rabbit at the table.

From: japlady@nwu.edu (Rebecca Radnor)
Adapted by Patti Vincent
section picture
Ruslan Nassyrov / 123RF Stock Photo 6046164